Compensation bid by atomic veteran

THE father of a former Ipswich Town footballer has revealed he is no clearer to knowing whether he can seek compensation after he endured atomic testing more than 50 years ago.

Dave Gooderham

THE father of a former Ipswich Town footballer has revealed he is no clearer to knowing whether he can seek compensation after he endured atomic testing more than 50 years ago.

Martin Scowcroft is one of hundreds of veterans embroiled in a long-running legal battle with the Ministry of Defence over the tests that they claim left them with serious health issues.

On Friday, the prospect of compensation moved a step closer after the High Court ruled that the MoD had a case to answer.


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But Mr Scowcroft, father of former Town striker James Scowcroft, said he was still unsure when the wrangle would be over amid fears it could take years to settle.

He said: “As far as I can tell, we seem to have been given the go-ahead to sue the Government but it could still take up to three years. By that time, half of the claimants could be dead.

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“It is a long process but a lot of people will be pleased with the ruling. I am just leaving it in the hands of solicitors.”

The High Court ruling came after solicitors acting for the Atomic Veterans Group served a writ on the MoD last year.

Mr Scowcroft, who lives in Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, was one of thousands of men posted to the Christmas Islands in the South Pacific in the 1950s as part of the UK's nuclear testing programme.

A former RAF ground electrician, Mr Scowcroft contracted prostate cancer which he fears could have been caused by radiation exposure during the tests.

Speaking to the EADT last year, he recalled sitting beneath coconut trees, covering their eyes with their hands, with their backs to the blast which thundered from 15 miles away.

He said he could feel the heat on the back of his neck and saw the mushroom cloud rise up.

Speaking about the case, Ian Rosenblatt, senior partner at London-based Rosenblatt Solicitors, said: “We are very disappointed that the Government and MoD have chosen to make our clients keep on fighting for so many years.

“We now hope that the MOD will accept that they need to help these people and make a swift and adequate offer of compensation.”

A MoD spokesman said: “The MoD, while being disappointed with the ruling, respects the judge's discretion to allow the claims to proceed to a trial that will establish whether or not the veterans' illnesses have a causal link to the tests. We will now review the full judgement before making a decision on how to proceed.”

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