Shetland fisherman’s widow wins compensation nearly five years on

The widow of a Shetland fisherman who drowned off Peterhead Harbour has been awarded a six figure sum after winning her claim for compensation.

Julie Ward, 40, sued the skipper of the Burra boat Mizpah after her husband Ivan plunged off the quayside in the north east town.

The 32-year-old father of three died after being pulled from the water by a team from the Peterhead lifeboat in the early hours of 5th January 2005.

Crewmate Tom Robertson, from Burra, jumped in to try to help him but had to be rescued himself by a young lifeboatman.

Mrs Ward, who lives in Rosehearty, engaged compensation specialists Quantum Claims to pursue a £500,000 damages case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on behalf of herself and her children, Jay, 11, Dana, nine, and six-year-old Billy.

On Thursday it emerged she had won her case. She intends to put the money in a trust fund for her children.

The legal action against the Mizpah Fishing Company and skipper David Robertson focused on her claim that Mr Robertson had a duty to ensure Mr Ward had a safe means of getting back on board his boat.

It was believed Mr Ward slipped on tyre fenders lining the harbour wall as he tried to get aboard at around 2am.

Mrs Ward had won an £18,500 out-of-court settlement after suing Sterling Insurance, which had failed to pay out on life insurance policies Mr Ward had held.

However she lost a claim against Norwich Union, which refused to pay on its policies because Mr Ward had been drinking before he died.

Gerry Forbes of Quantum Claims said: “We were instructed to raise court proceedings on behalf of Mrs Ward and her children. We did attempt to negotiate with the boat’s insurance company’s solicitor but that was unsuccessful, so we commenced court proceedings which led us to court on 13th October and a settlement agreement was reached.

“A substantial amount of damages has been paid which comes to a six figure amount. Mrs Ward is pleased that this long legal process is over, and she is happy with the outcome of it.”


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