Crash driver claims victim was too fat to pay out fee

Joan Johnston with husband Robert.
Joan Johnston with husband Robert.

A doctor who killed a Snainton woman in a car crash is refusing to pay £300,000 damages to her widower – because her 30-stone weight would have limited her life expectancy.

Dr Benjamin Kendrick, 37, is disputing a compensation claim made by Joan Johnston’s husband’s Robert following her tragic death.

He claims the victim was “morbidly obese” and has only agreed to pay out a smaller sum.

Mr Johnston, 63, told a national newspaper: “We were married 38 years and she always struggled with her weight but that wasn’t why she died.

“The fact he’s disputing this really makes it worse.

“She had a thyroid problem, which also meant that we could never have children — but she was healthy enough and we were happy. Now that’s all been taken away.”

Kendrick killed ex-legal secretary Mrs Johnston and injured her husband, as well as three of his own colleagues, as he drove to a medical course in the Highlands in May 2009. The orthopaedic surgeon lost control of his rented people carrier and smashed head-on into the holidaymakers’ vehicle.

Mr Johnston, a retired Post Office manager, added: “I’m not saying he meant to kill Joan or I want him punished, I’m just saying that by shirking his responsibility he’s causing even more hurt.

“I don’t even care about the money. She was my absolute soulmate and not a minute goes by when I don’t miss her.”

Perth Sheriff Court heard last week that negotiations are being held over evidence relating to Joan’s weight.