THE widow of a soldier killed in a crash has won the right to a compensation payout worth up to £95,000.
Sgt Phillip Train, 34, died when his motorcycle collided with a minibus in Roman Road, Colchester in July 2009. He was a rising star of Colchester Garrison-based 2 Para and had served in Afghanistan.
His widow, Stacy Train, then of Thaxted Walk, Colchester, launched a damages claim against the Ministry of Defence.
Mrs Train claimed Army minibus driver, Pte William Kwame Korsinah, was to blame and the MoD should pay damages of up to £475,000.
After a High Court hearing, a judge has ruled Pte Korsinah, now a business analyst, was at fault, but the majority of the blame lay with Sgt Train.
Judge David Pittaway, QC, ruled the MoD, through its then employee Pte Korsinah, was 20 per cent liable and should pay a fifth of Mrs Train's claim when it is assessed.
The court heard Sgt Train’s motorbike smashed into the side of the minibus.
Pte Korsinah, an experienced driver, was taking it to be re-fuelled and had crossed into the path of the oncoming motorbike so the minibus could enter a side road.
Mrs Train's lawyers argued although Sgt Train was riding too fast, Pte Korsinah should not have crossed the carriageway when he did.
Mr Korsinah denied responsibility, claiming he had ample time to cross the carriageway.
Other witnesses saw Sgt Train riding quickly and looking to the side of the road where colleagues were preparing for a parade through Colchester.
When he looked back at the road, he was too close to the minibus to stop.
He slammed on his brakes, the back wheel rose from the ground and he smashed into the side of the minibus.
Judge Pittaway said: “A prudent driver would have waited, unless he was satisfied the motorcycle was travelling at a speed within the 20mph limit.
“Albeit Pte Korsinah has repeatedly said there was ample room for him to make the manoeuvre, but I am not satisfied he made any assessment of the speed of the approaching motorcycle.’’
Sgt Train was the senior sergeant in B Company, 2 Para, and had recently been appointed as platoon commander of 4 Platoon.
He was earmarked to teach at Sandhurst, a job reserved for the best non-commissioned officers. Mrs Train now lives in Saltburn, Cleveland.