Unjust award for Army cadet blinded by IRA bomb
In February 2001, Army cadet, Stephen Menary, was on his way to cadet training in White City, West London, when he spotted what looked like an army-issue torch on the pavement. Realising that it was not working, Stephen opened the battery cover and this set off an IRA booby-trap bomb inside the torch.
Mr Menary was only 14 years old at the time and suffered horrific injuries as a result of the explosion. The blast severed his left hand and ear and destroyed his left eye. The force of the blast also caused severe chest and stomach injuries.
As a baby, he had been left with decreased vision in his right eye as a result of cancer. Following the explosion, he was left completely blind in both eyes. Due to the severity of his injuries, he will require lifelong care and support and is unlikely to ever be able to work in the future.
After years of seeking compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for his injuries, he has recently been told that he will receive a final settlement award of £270,000 for all his injuries. Of this amount, only £55,000 has been awarded for loss of his left eye, despite the fact that he is now completely blind.
Under the CICA tariff award scheme, £110,000 is awarded for total blindness with half this amount, £55,000, being awarded for loss of one eye.
Speaking of the injustice that he has received, Mr Menary said: “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.”
“My vision before the attack was pretty much perfect. I would have been eligible to drive, I didn’t need glasses or any reading aids at all – I was no different from the average person.”
It is likely that the lump sum that Mr Menary has been awarded will only generate around £12,000 a year in interest for him to live on for the rest of his life. In addition, he has realised that as a result of the lump sum award, he will also lose his means-tested incapacity benefit, rent and council tax allowances, which would usually amount to £9,996 a year. Despite his permanent injuries and disabilities, the award would therefore leave him only £38 per week better off.
Mr Menary has said that he plans to appeal this decision.