Family of Nimrod crash victims receive compensation

  • Published
Image caption,
The Nimrods were declared unairworthy by the coroner

The mother and sister of one of 14 servicemen killed when a Nimrod plane blew up over Afghanistan have been awarded compensation.

A civil jury at the High Court in Edinburgh decided the MoD should pay £90,000 to Joe Windall's mother and £60,000 to the Royal Marine's sister.

The Nimrod spy plane exploded on 2 September 2006.

The MoD admitted liability in the action but argued that the sums sued for were excessive.

Several relatives received payouts earlier in October after two years of legal action.

Royal Marine Windall's mother Philippa Young, 57, from High Wycombe, and his sister Marie Paiser, 29, from London, were among a number of relatives who had also raised actions.

The jurors were asked to consider the amount that they should be given for their grief and sorrow, for the distress and anxiety endured in contemplation of the marine's suffering before his death and for the loss of society.

Mrs Young was asked during the two-day case how she reacted as she found out more information about probelms with safety systems on the Nimrod following the tragedy.

She said: "I was incredulous really. I was worried about Joe going to war and being killed by the enemy but the fact that he went to work in an unfit aircraft I just couldn't believe that could happen.

"I thought he was safe. I though he was flying in an aircraft miles above everything."

After the earlier hearings, an MoD spokesman passed on its "sincere condolences" to the families of those killed and said compensation had been paid to help "ensure their future financial security".

"When compensation claims are submitted, they are considered on the basis of whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation. Where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we do so."

The MoD was heavily criticised over the incident at an inquest in 2008 and last year an independent review accused the MoD of sacrificing safety to cut costs.

In May 2008, a coroner ruled the Nimrod fleet, based at RAF Kinloss in Moray, had never been airworthy.

The government at the time refused to agree with the coroner's recommendation that the entire Nimrod fleet be grounded.

According to the MoD, new procedures meant the Nimrod aircraft was safe. Air-to-air refuelling was stopped, as were the use of very hot air systems in flight.

"Enhanced" aircraft maintenance and inspection procedures were also introduced by the MoD.

Explosion 'preventable'

The 14 men killed on the Nimrod were:

Flt Lt Steven Johnson, 38, from Collingham, Nottinghamshire, Flt Lt Leigh Anthony Mitchelmore, 28, from Bournemouth, Dorset, Flt Lt Gareth Rodney Nicholas, 40, from Redruth, Cornwall, Flt Lt Allan James Squires, 39, from Clatterbridge, Merseyside and Flt Lt Steven Swarbrick, 28, from Liverpool.

Flt Sgt Gary Wayne Andrews, 48, from Tankerton, Kent, Flt Sgt Stephen Beattie, 42, from Dundee, Flt Sgt Gerard Martin Bell, 48, from Newport, Shropshire, and Flt Sgt Adrian Davies, 49, from Amersham, Buckinghamshire, Sgt Benjamin James Knight, 25, from Bridgwater, Sgt John Joseph Langton, 29,from Liverpool and Sgt Gary Paul Quilliam, 42, from Manchester.

L/Cpl Oliver Simon Dicketts, of the Parachute Regiment, from Wadhurst and Royal Marine Joseph David Windall, 22, from Hazlemere.

An independent review, which reported its findings in October 2009, concluded that the crash was preventable.