£4.25m payout for Rhiannon Millett 1996 crash life care

A woman who suffered serious brain damage after a drink-driver ploughed into a car in which she was a passenger has been awarded £4.25m compensation.

Rhiannon Millett, from Tredegar, was six in 1996 when the car was hit head on in Blackwood, Caerphilly county.

Her mother's partner, who was driving the car, died, the High Court was told.

Jeremy Hallett, of Tredegar, was later convicted of causing death by driving without due care and attention. His insurers admitted liability in 1998.

Ms Millet, now 21, launched a damages claim against the driver through her mother, Alison Kearney.

It sought compensation for injuries which have left her disabled for life.

Barrister Simon Michael, for Ms Millett, told the court that initially it was thought the youngster did not have any serious injury and was sent home from hospital after treatment for her broken leg.

But the crash had caused a pre-existing congenital weakness in the tissues of her brain to tear and she suffered near fatal intra-cranial bleeding, the court heard.

Mr Michael told the court that more than half of all people who suffer such a rupture die as a result, many within a few days of it happening.

He said: "Rhianna survived, however she suffered very serious brain injury.

"She will never work for money, will never be able to live independently and will require a considerable care package to care for her."

Mrs Justice Sharp approved a settlement consisting of a £1m lump sum, plus index-linked and tax-free payments of £52,500-a-year to cover the costs of care for Ms Millett, who has a normal life expectancy.

She said: "This is a manifestly sensible settlement - I approve it.

"I would like to extend my best wishes to Rhiannon and her mother who has borne the burden of caring for her for many years. My very best wishes for the future."