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)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect