Navy widow wins pounds 150,000 over Falklands death: Accident pay-out by MoD follows two-year legal wrangle

A WIDOW whose husband was killed in a bizarre accident while serving with the Royal Navy in the Falkland Islands has won pounds 150,000 damages from the Ministry of Defence for negligence.

The out-of-court settlement is the end of a legal battle that has lasted more than two years for Lorna Partridge, whose husband, Tony, was crushed by a container blown over by the downwash from a Chinook helicopter.

But she and Mr Partridge's parents remain angry at the way they have been treated by the ministry. They say they have been denied information and that the legal dispute was unnecessarily prolonged.

'I am not happy with the settlement but at the end of the day I had no option but to accept it,' Mrs Partridge, 28, who lives near Dunfermline in Fife, said. The couple's son, Danny, is now three years old.

Mr Partridge, 26, a Leading Physical Instructor, was killed in October 1991 as the Chinook was delivering fuel containers to the adventure training centre at Shag Cove on West Falkland, which can only be reached by helicopter.

The underslung fuel pods began to roll over as they touched the ground and so the Chinook, piloted by Flt Lt David Stewart, lifted up.

This increased the downwash - the wind created by the helicopter's rotor blades that fans out at ground level - which rocked a two-ton container that was near the landing pad.

Mr Partridge, chief instructor at the centre, and two students were sheltering from the downwash behind the container. It began to roll down the slope and Mr Partridge was crushed as the others jumped clear.

An internal inquiry by the Ministry of Defence concluded that the accident could have been prevented.

The inquiry report said: 'Undeniably, there were failings in management and not least in that some longstanding weaknesses in organisation went uncorrected.

'The container had been placed on sloping ground at Shag Cove on a hummock, and had subsequently been moved by dragging. These factors combined to allow the container to teeter, and eventually roll, under the effect of the Chinook downwash.'

The victim's father, Fred, who with his wife, Jill, runs a village shop near Spalding in Lincolnshire, said: 'We have had so many conflicting stories and nobody would tell us the truth.'

He obtained a copy of the internal report only after he spotted a small item in a Royal Navy newspaper which stated that such documents could be requested. Nobody at the ministry volunteered the information that he was entitled to see it.

It took 18 months for a full inquest to be held because the ministry said that it was difficult to get all the witnesses together. Nicholas Gardiner, the Oxfordshire coroner, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Mr Partridge said: 'We have to fight tooth and nail for everything we have got out of the MoD. We have never been given anything, we have just come up against blank walls. We have been treated very, very coldly.'

His daughter-in-law indicated her willingness to accept pounds 120,000 last summer but the ministry, which had admitted liability, continued to haggle. This hardened her attitude and in the end the ministry had to pay out more.

She said: 'It is like a game of cat and mouse with them. We could have settled this a long time ago, when I was willing to accept less than I am willing to accept now.'

The accident inquiry recommended a set of guidelines to prevent such an incident occurring again. A spokesman for the ministry said: 'We have reached an amicable settlement with Mrs Partridge's solicitor.'

(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are