Ex-jockey settles damages claim

FORMER jockey Ray Cochrane has settled his damages claim for the plane crash that almost killed him and fellow rider Frankie Dettori.The horseman, who was hailed a hero after the June 2000 Piper Seneca crash at Newmarket's July Racecourse, said yesterday he had reached a settlement with Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation and Jill Mackey, widow of pilot Patrick Mackey who died in the accident.

By Sheena Walshe

FORMER jockey Ray Cochrane has settled his damages claim for the plane crash that almost killed him and fellow rider Frankie Dettori.

The horseman, who was hailed a hero after the June 2000 Piper Seneca crash at Newmarket's July Racecourse, said yesterday he had reached a settlement with Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation and Jill Mackey, widow of pilot Patrick Mackey who died in the accident.

Mr Cochrane, who lives at Little Wilbraham, near Newmarket, would not reveal details of the settlement but said: "Everyone is pleased an agreement has been reached. It was an unfortunate accident in which a man lost his life and I am just relieved it is all over now."

The jockey, who gave up riding after the accident, said he would never have dragged the case through the courts and was glad an amicable resolution was possible.

News of Mr Cochrane's settlement comes as new legal action over the crash is launched.

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A claim for more than £300,000 has been lodged by the owners of the plane which crashed on take-off.

Oxford Aviation is claiming the value of the aircraft, a Piper PA-34 Seneca III, plus the lost income from hiring the plane, from Godolphin Management, which runs racing operations for Sheikh Mohammed and other members of Dubai's ruling Al-Maktoum family.

The writ, lodged at the High Court, claims Godolphin, which hired the plane, was negligent and blames the crash on pilot error.

However, Godolphin is contesting the writ. The company's solicitor, Guy Wilkes, said: "I can confirm the owner of the aircraft, Oxford Aviation, has issued a claim against our client in respect of the loss of the aircraft. Our client disputes liability for the accident and will vigorously defend the claim brought by Oxford Aviation."

Mr Wilkes also confirmed Godolphin and Mrs Mackey had reached agreement with Mr Cochrane but said the terms of the settlement were confidential.

The doomed plane crashed on June 1 2000 as it took off from Newmarket for Goodwood racecourse, where the two jockeys were due to ride. Mr Cochrane suffered burns and bruising in the crash and Mr Dettori's ankle was broken. He also suffered a head injury.

Mr Cochrane helped the limping Dettori away from the wreckage but despite his efforts was unable to save Mr Mackey, who died in a fire that broke out afterwards.

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