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The BBC's Richard Bilton
"The council worker came into conflict with gipsy families and faced extreme abuse"
 real 28k

Monday, 10 January, 2000, 14:32 GMT
Stressed worker wins massive payout

Randy Ingram was shot at on a gypsy site where he worked

A council warden at a gypsy site has been awarded 203,432 damages for prolonged stress caused by his work.

The out-of-court payment to Randy Ingram, 41, from Evesham, Worcs, is believed to be the highest ever made for personal injury caused by stress at work in the UK.

The council has a lot to answer for. They have made me very ill with stress and depression and my home life has suffered as a result
Randy Ingram
Mr Ingram worked for the now-disbanded Hereford and Worcester County Council, and claimed he did not receive the necessary support from his employers after being shot at and physically and verbally abused by gypsies on the sites where he worked.

Public service workers' union Unison says it is the first major case brought by someone who was forced to give up their job because of stress and never returned.

Worcestershire County Council, which now runs the sites, agreed the damages moments before the case was due to be heard at Birmingham County Court.

Medication and painkillers

Mr Ingram - a former traveller himself - managed gypsy sites for Wychavon District Council for two years until the work was transferred to the county council in 1995.

He took over responsibility for other sites, including one at Lower Heath, near Kidderminster, which had a history of problems.

Mr Ingram said: "The council has a lot to answer for.

"They have made me very ill with stress and depression and my home life has suffered as a result.

"I have been in hospital twice and still need medication and painkillers to carry on. I wish I could say I will be better by tomorrow but that is just not going to happen."

Dave Prentis, deputy general secretary of Unison said: "I am very pleased that we have been able to secure compensation for the pain and suffering that he and his family have had to endure, and the consequences they are still living with."

Growing tension

Mr Ingram was the third warden on the Lower Heath site to suffer from a stress-related illness.

Unison achieved a payout of 14,500 last week for another warden.

Recent figures showed that unions took 783 legal cases against employers for stress-related illness last year, 70% up on the previous 12 months.

The previous biggest payout for personal injury at work caused by stress was around 175,000.

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