Mine blast trooper wins damages
A paratrooper who lost his left leg after he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan has won damages at the High Court.
Sergeant Stuart Pearson was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal after the September 2006 tragedy in Helmand Province, which killed Corporal Mark Wright and injured five other comrades from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment.
Cpl Wright was posthumously awarded the George Cross and two other soldiers gained the George Medal in the wake of the incident near a Taliban checkpoint by Kajaki Dam.
Judge Nicholas Chambers QC, at London's High Court, was told that 35-year-old Sgt Pearson's right foot was so badly damaged that it might also need to be amputated should a planned operation with only a 70% success rate fail.
Counsel Paul Rose QC said the soldier, who lives near Edinburgh, remained active despite his injuries and still enjoyed skiing and swimming.
The Ministry of Defence agreed a provisional compensation package which includes damages for pain and suffering as well as £600,000 for prosthetics and £270,000 for future care.
Further damages may be paid out in the future if the second amputation goes ahead.
A statement issued later by Sgt Pearson's lawyers, MPH Solicitors, said: "Sergeant Pearson is currently recovering from a further operation and is still a serving soldier and proud to hold that position." The firm said the full value of Sgt Pearson's claim was £1.775 million but he would not receive that amount.
Solicitor Geraldine McCool said: "An out-of-court settlement has been negotiated with the Ministry of Defence whereby he receives a percentage of full value to reflect the MoD's argument that this incident was covered by combat immunity. I am not at liberty to disclose the sum that Sergeant Pearson will be receiving but I know that he would also like to stress that he gives up his Armed Forces Compensation Service benefit (guaranteed income payment) in return.
"Today's court hearing was about the right for Sergeant Pearson to go back to court in the future and secure a further sum to deal with future losses in the worst-case scenario which, in his case, is further amputation. This right has been approved by the court."