£5million damages for car crash victim

By Ted JeoryA PROMISING footballer who was left tetraplegic after a car crash spoke last night of his joy after being awarded £5million in damages.Alex Campbell, 21, said the award was a “massive relief” and meant he and his family - which suffered another blow when his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer - could now face the future more positively.

By Ted Jeory

A PROMISING footballer who was left tetraplegic after a car crash spoke last night of his joy after being awarded £5million in damages.

Alex Campbell, 21, said the award was a “massive relief” and meant he and his family - which suffered another blow when his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer - could now face the future more positively.

Mr Campbell was a passenger in his friend's Peugeot car when it aquaplaned on the A120 near Elmstead Market three years ago.


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The pair had been returning from playing in a football match for their club, Frinton and Walton FC, when the car hit surface water and rolled over several times, crushing the roof on the passenger side.

Mr Campbell, who was 18 at the time of the crash, broke two bones in his neck and was told by doctors he would never walk again.

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Confined lifelong to a wheelchair and dependent on a team of carers, the former midfielder has been pursuing damages against his friend, Timothy Watson-Mitchell, whose insurers CIS have now agreed to pay a lump sum of £5m in an out-of-court settlement.

The money will be paid into a trust to which Mr Campbell, of Thorpe Road, Kirby Cross, has no direct access - partly to ensure it lasts for the rest of his life and meets all his needs.

The Liverpool FC fan currently lives with his carer and his 15-year-old brother Daniel, who is staying with him while their mother Monica undergoes treatment for lung cancer.

Mr Campbell said last night: “I've been waiting for this for three years. It's such a relief - it means I can get my life back to some sort of normality.

“The money's in the trust fund, which is a good is idea otherwise I think I could have blown it.”

The former pupil of St Benedict's College, Colchester, said life remained tough, but added: “I still get my up and down days, although they're more up than they used to be.

“Everyone means well, but after three years you get a bit bored people always asking how you are and that's one of the harder things.

“I miss football like anything. I just sit there watching it sometimes and start crying because I miss it so much - football was my whole life.”

Mrs Campbell, from Frinton, who has just finished a course of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with lung cancer in September, added: “We're so happy he's got this money to secure his future now.

“It relieves us of so much worry. They say he'll never walk again, but we'll still fight on. I've told him I'm just hanging around to annoy him.

“The doctors have not told me I've got a life sentence with the cancer, so we're all very positive.”

Mr Campbell's solicitor, Julian Chamberlayne, said about £2.5m would meet the expected cost of his future care needs with the rest covering special adaptations to his home, medical treatments, loss of earnings, equipment and additional holiday costs.

A preliminary sum of £650,000 has already been paid to Mr Campbell after a judged ruled in his favour in October 2002.

Mr Chamberlayne said: “It's important that the money is used for Alex's future. In previous cases where large lump sums have been paid, people have come under pressure from friends and it disappears.

“A trust will ensure the money lasts. He's a young lad with a long life expectancy and he will need the money.

“I understand that CIS still pursuing its case against the Highways Agency and its drainage contractors because they believe the drains were blocked.”

Mr Watson-Mitchell, who was not prosecuted by police, escaped with minor injuries from the crash. Neither the Highways Agency nor CIS were able to comment last night.

ted.jeory@eadt.co.uk

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