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Last Updated: Friday, 31 March 2006, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Employers 'to blame for suicide'
The employers of a man who killed himself years after suffering an injury at work are liable for his death, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Thomas Corr, then aged 31, had almost all his right ear severed at the Luton IBC van factory while fixing a machine.

Six years later, in May 2002, he took his own life after suffering headaches, tinnitus and severe depression.

The High Court originally ruled IBC Vehicles were not responsible for his death but that ruling was overturned.

Mr Corr's widow, Eileen, of Calverton Road in Luton, Bedfordshire, had gone to the High Court in April 2005 to sue for 750,000 because of the pain and suffering caused after the industrial accident.

Ruling overturned

IBC Vehicles, which produces vans for Vauxhall Motors in Luton, admitted liability for the workplace accident but denied that its responsibility extended to him taking his own life six years later.

This was accepted in the High Court when Deputy Judge Nigel Baker QC ruled against Mrs Corr, awarding her just 82,520 after finding IBC could not be held responsible for her husband's suicide.

On Friday that ruling was overturned on a majority ruling at the Appeal Court with damages to be agreed at a later date.

Lord Justice Sedley said all the evidence suggested there was no other cause of Mr Corr's suicide other than the injury he suffered at work, and he was previously a "rational man".

"The suicide was proved to have been a function of the depression and so formed part of the damage for which IBC were liable," he said.

He said to treat Mr Corr as responsible for his own death was an "unjustified exception" to modern views on the links between accidents and their causes.

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