TRAGIC PI­LOTS' PART­NERS SUE FOR ₤4 MIL­LION

Women lodge com­pen­sa­tion claims

Evening Express (Extra Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gavin Roberts and Sally McDon­ald

PART­NERS of the pi­lots killed in the North Sea Su­per Puma disas­ter have raised multi-mil­lion pound legal ac­tions, the Evening Ex­press can re­veal to­day.

The moves – thought to be worth more than £4 mil­lion – have

been raised by Kather­ine Botham and Joanne McKen­zie against Bond Off­shore He­li­copters over the deaths of co-pilot Richard Men­zies, 24, and 3 1 - year-old Cap­tain Paul Burn­ham.

Miss Botham was de­scribed as the “soul mate” Mr Men­zies while Joanne McKen­zie said she and Cap­tain Burn­ham were newly en­gaged.

To­day, both women said the loss of the men they loved had changed their lives for­ever.

It was un­der­stood the com­pen­sa­tion could be cal­cu­lated from the pi­lots’ to­tal salaries un­til re­tire­ment age.

And this would equate to more than £2m each.

Miss McKen­zie, who lived with Paul in Meth­lick, to­day con­firmed she was su­ing for com­pen­sa­tion.

She said: “There is no amount of money that could bring Paul back. How­ever, my life was turned up­side down af­ter his death.

“We moved to Aberdeen­shire be­cause of Paul’s job. When he died I went to Lon­don. I had to re­think my whole life.”

And Miss Botham, 26, a civil ser­vant, said: “Los­ing Richard has af­fected by whole life and not a day goes by with­out me think­ing of him.

“Some days it can feel like I am back at square one, but I have had won­der­ful sup­port from my

“Ac­tions have been raised”

So­lic­i­tors Bal­four & Man­son, Rae­burn Christie Clark & Wal­lace and Digby Brown have formed a steer­ing group to rep­re­sent nine of the men’s fam­i­lies.

Bal­four & Man­son’s Lisa Gre­gory, co-or­di­na­tor of the steer­ing group, to­day said: “I can con­firm ac­tions have been raised at the Court of Session on be­half of Kather­ine Botham and Joanne McKen­zie, the part­ners of the late Richard Men­zies, of Droitwich Spa, and Paul Burn­ham.

“The ac­tions seek to com­pen­sate our clients for their losses sus­tained as a re­sult of the he­li­copter in­ci­dent.”

Ms Gre­gory said the pro­ce­dure for com­pen­sa­tion claims by the fam­i­lies of the late Mr Burn­ham and Mr Men­zies was dif­fer­ent from that of claims by fam­i­lies of the pas­sen­gers.

The Mon­treal Con­ven­tion sets out air car­ri­ers’ li­a­bil­i­ties for pas­sen­gers but it does not ex­tend to flight crew.

A spokesman for Bond said they were aware the claims had been lodged.

DISAS­TER: Wreck­age from the he­li­copter is un­loaded at Aberdeen Har­bour. SU­ING: Richard Men­zies’ part­ner Kather­ine Botham.

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