Stephen Menary

A paratrooper cadet who was blinded and maimed by an IRA bomb has had his compensation payout slashed by £55,000 because he had already lost the use of one eye due to childhood illness.

Stephen Menary, 21, suffered horrific injuries in the blast outside a Territorial Army centre in west London seven years ago. It blew off his left hand, destroyed his one remaining eye and one of his ears and ripped open his chest and stomach. But although the atrocity left him completely blind, bureaucrats have told him he only deserves compensation for losing one eye - because the loss of the other was not due to the bomb attack. He is now set to receive a final settlement of a further £200,000 - on top of a £70,000 interim payment he has already received. That includes £55,000 for the loss of one eye - instead of £110,000 he would receive for total blindness - and just £60,000 for future loss of earnings, even though his hopes of a career have been shattered. Critics condemned the decision as “grotesque” and accused officials of caring more about ticking boxes on forms than about an individual life. To add insult to injury, because Stephen is surviving on benefits which are means-tested he will lose out on £10,000 of income a year once his compensation is finally paid - almost the same as the interest he can expect to earn on his lump sum. Last night the former cadet, who will need lifelong care and is unlikely ever to work, vowed to mount a legal battle against the "appalling’ award by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. He said: “I’ve only ever asked for fairness. The last thing I am is a sponger or a money-grabber. But it is almost impossible to live on the amount they have awarded me. “They don’t judge me as someone who is totally blind, which I am, but as someone who has sight in one eye. I am also partially deaf.” As a boy Stephen dreamed of becoming a paratrooper and eagerly joined the cadets. But his life was shattered one night in February 2001 when, on his way to a training evening in White City, he spotted an Army-issue torch which had apparently been dropped outside the TA centre. When it failed to work he opened the battery cover, triggering the IRA booby-trap Semtex bomb inside. He was not eligible for any military financial support and had to wait seven years for civil compensation due to the CICA’s policy of waiting to see how young victims of crime recover. Stephen had to fight to receive a £70,000 interim payment, which quickly went on specialist equipment for his Birmingham flat - provided by veterans’ charity St Dunstan’s. On his 18th birthday he was feted by the Blairs, with the Prime Minister’s wife Cherie happily posing on the steps of No10 to acknowledge his bravery. Stephen’s lump sum is likely to generate around £12,000 a year in interest for him to live on. But because he now has more than £16,000 of savings in the bank, he will lose his mean-tested incapacity benefit, rent and council tax allowances, which together come to £9,996 per year. In effect his long-awaited compensation for such appalling injuries will leave him just £2,000 a year better off - or £38 a week. Stephen is furious that he will receive less money to cover long-term care because he has fought tirelessly to learn to perform some simple household tasks alone, one-handed - such as chopping vegetables held in a special clamp in his adapted kitchen. He would have been financially better off if he had simply given up. He said: “The system favours those who do nothing to improve their lives at the cost of those who struggle hard to achieve a little independence.” Diane Dernie, whose son Ben Parkinson was at the centre of the Daily Mail’s campaign for better compensation for British troops seriously injured in battle, said Stephen Menary had fallen victim to the same senseless bureaucracy as Ben. She said: “This poor lad has been condemned to a life of poverty. “Treating him as someone who has only lost one eye is simply grotesque. “The incident blinded him. It’s as simple as that. “It’s the usual story of bureaucrats just ticking boxes instead of seeing the real person. I find it desperately said.” Stephen’s mother Carol said: “It makes me cry, what they’ve done to him. He’s been left to rot.” His case is in stark contrast to far larger compensation payments paid to many “victims” in today’s culture of litigation. The RAF notoriously paid £484,000 to a civilian typist who suffered repetitive strain injuries in her wrist, while a teacher successfully sued Birmingham City Council for £330,000 for the mental trauma she suffered when an intruder entered her classroom. CICA said it would not comment on individual cases.



Why is it that things like this no longer surprise me!

It’s a disgrace but sadly not unexpected anymore in this country:angry:

Completely agree. :angry:

It’s crazy. You can’t value an eye or sight obviously - but to turn to someone who’s been through that - IS blind now and say - well you’d already lost sight in one eye mate…is utterly f-ing appalling. THe people who sit there making these decisions - what are they thinking? How do they view themselves? And the comparables - RSI and a classroom intruder - different systems with no sense of context. What it suggests is that collectively they’re more afraid of the upset from RSI than someone who’s life, whatever it may have been, is completely, physically and mentally irrevocably changed. How you solve this and how much compensation people should get I don’t know - but what we know with absolute certainty is that what has happened here is wrong.

It was the same with military injuries until recently too - only the 3 worst counted towards a payments so if you had more than 3 serious injuries you were basically stuffed.

It seems that when people try and make things black and whilte you take away any case for discretion so in the end it turns into an exercise of beig correct rather than being fair…

Remember this is the same system that deducts money for food and lodgings for people compensated for wrongly spending half their lives in prison after being wringly convicted…