Award to parents of riverboat victim wiped out by costs

The parents who won pounds 34,000 for the loss of their daughter in the Marchioness riverboat disaster, said yesterday that their award would be swallowed up in legal costs.

Vincenzo Dallaglio, 60, and his wife Eileen, 57, said they were "bitterly disappointed" by the sum Mr Justice Latham awarded, pounds 33,930, for the loss of their daughter, Francesca, who they had described as the "sole breadwinner" in their family.

Mrs Dallaglio added that it was "morally wrong" that their award would be used up in legal costs leaving the owners of the two boats to "get away with it scot-free".

Francesca,19, was on the brink of a career as a ballet dancer when she died, along with 50 other young people after the dredger Bowbelle collided with the Marchioness on 20 August 1989 in mid-stream of the river Thames.

The owners of the two vessels admitted liability for damages five years ago and the judge was asked only to assess how much should be awarded. Other death and personal injury claims have been dealt with by the Registrar of the Admiralty Court, including a pounds 15,000 award for the loss of a daughter.

The Dallaglio case was the only claim to be transferred to a judge for assessment because of the couple's heavy financial reliance on their daughter.

The boats' owners made a pre-trial settlement offer of pounds 50,000, Mr Justice Latham was told in the High Court yesterday. Because the offer was greater than the final award, the Dallaglios were ordered to pay the defence costs. As is usual in such cases, he was not told of the pre-trial offer until after his judgment.

The judge said Ms Dallaglio was a "lovely, greatly talented girl" who had just obtained her first job after dance and drama school. "It is obvious that many lives have been made the poorer by her death," he said.

In financial terms, however, there was no secure evidence that she would have provided a regular income for her financially vulnerable parents, and her mother's evidence on this was "unrealistic".

"I cannot believe that before her death they had any real expectation that she would have provided them with, in effect, a pension," said the judge. "I am sure they would have wanted her to secure her own financial position and to have provided for her family when she married and had children."

He awarded the legally aided couple pounds 16,000 for their loss, plus pounds 4,806 to Francesca's estate and pounds 13,124 interest.

Mrs Dallaglio said afterwards: "We should never have been brought to this court in the first place. When the vessel owners admitted liability, punitive and exemplary damages should have been paid immediately to all the families involved - the survivors and the bereaved ...

"These companies have taken 51 young talented lives and ruined many other lives and yet they walk away scot-free.

"If I have to dedicate the rest of my life to it, I will work to secure amendments to the law to make sure no one else is treated like this."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week