Highest Ever Loss of Society Award in Scotland for Family of Royal Marine Killed in Nimrod Crash

Highest Ever Loss of Society Award in Scotland for Family of Royal Marine Killed in Nimrod Crash

A jury has found in favour of the family of a Royal Marine killed in the Nimrod disaster in Afghanistan.

The family of Joe Windall have succeeded in their fight for justice following his death when the Nimrod plane he was in crashed in Afghanistan. The Edinburgh Court of Session found in favour of Mr Windall’s mother and sister, awarding them £90,000 and £60,000 respectively, the highest ever Loss of Society Award in Scotland given to a mother and a sibling.

The Nimrod plane Mr Windall was travelling in crashed in Afghanistan, near Kandahar in 2006, claiming the lives of all 14 British servicemen on board.

Speaking following the conclusion of the two-day hearing, Mr Windall’s mother, Phillipa Young welcomed the decision but said no amount of money could ever bring back her son who would ‘always be my hero’, David Bell of Irwin Mitchell, said the Royal Marine and his colleagues had been ‘let down very, very badly indeed’.

The Coroner, Andrew Walker, at the 2008 inquest into the tragedy, handed down a narrative verdict which concluded that the Nimrod had “never been airworthy from the first time it was released to the service nearly 40 years ago".

An independent review by Mr Haddon–Cave QC in 2009 further criticised the MOD. The report from the review accused the MoD of sacrificing safety to cut costs and stated the Nimrod accident occurred because of a "systemic breach" of the military covenant.

Following the judgement at Edinburgh’s High Court, Mrs Young said: “My son will always be my hero. As a family we were, and always will be, unbelievably proud of him and all his colleagues who died in this crash that we have always felt could have been avoided.

“The past four years have been awful for us. We know there is a risk for all service personnel when they deploy on Operations, but you expect the risk to come from the conflict with the other side, not from the equipment that is supposed to help keep them safe.

“It is important that we have won this battle. No amount of money can ever bring my son back and that is something we have to live with every day and we are disappointed that we had to go to court in order to get justice for Joe."

David Bell from the Glasgow Office of Irwin Mitchell, who represented all 14 families at the inquest into the servicemen’s deaths, said: “All families accept that their loved ones may be in danger when they go to fight for their country, but our clients were determined to bring their case to court, not because of the issue of compensation but because they feel so strongly about the way Joe and his colleagues were put at risk and ultimately lost their lives. The safety of our servicemen has to be the paramount issue at all times and we would hope lessons have been learnt to ensure the same mistakes are never made again.”

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