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    MoD agrees multimillion Nimrod payout

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    ODN

    by ODN

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    A multimillion-pound compensation deal has been agreed with the families of crewmen who died when their Nimrod plane blew up over Afghanistan.


    The Ministry of Defence declined to reveal the exact figure, although its understood to be in the region of £15 million, according to newspaper reports.


    The deal comes two years after the families first raised legal action over the 2006 crash which killed 14 crewmen and prompted a scathing review which accused the MoD of sacrificing safety to cut costs.


    A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "The MOD passes on its sincere condolences to the families of those killed in the Nimrod accident and can confirm that compensation has been paid which will help ensure their future financial security. When compensation claims are submitted, they are considered on the basis of whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation. Where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we do so."


    The actions were raised by the widows and girlfriends of Flight Lieutenants Leigh Mitchelmore, 28, Gareth Nicholas, 40, Allan Squires, 39, and Steven Swarbrick, 28, as well as those of Flight Sergeants Gary Andrews, 48, Stephen Beattie, 42, Gerard Bell, 48, and Adrian Davies, 49. The partners of Sergeants Ben Knight, 25, John Langton, 29, and Gary Quilliam, 42, lodged similar actions, as did the father of Royal Marine Joseph Windall, 22.


    The Nimrod exploded moments after mid-air refuelling when a fire broke out on the plane. It blew apart as the crew - which also included pilot Flight Lieutenant Steven Johnson, 38, and Lance Corporal Oliver Dicketts, 27, of the Parachute Regiment - tried to make an emergency descent to Kandahar airbase.


    A spokesman for law firm Balfour and Manson, which represented 12 of the families, said: "Monetary compensation can never replace a loved one whose life has been cruelly cut short. However, it provides some financial security."