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Boy, six, wins right to sue over father's diving death

Vincent Warner's father Lex died after falling on a boat while exploring a shipwreck.

Ruling: Supreme Court has allowed Vincent to sue for damages.
Ruling: Supreme Court has allowed Vincent to sue for damages. SWNS

A six-year-old boy has won a landmark ruling to sue for damages after the death of his father.

Vincent Warner's father Lex died after falling on the deck of a boat during the exploration of a shipwreck near Cape Wrath, Sutherland in 2012.

Mr Warner, 50, from Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands was aboard the M V Jean Elaine when he fell on-deck while wearing full diving gear.

After being helped to his feet, Mr Warner continued with the dive. It is thought the dad-of-one suffered internal injuries from the fall and got into difficulties while submerged.

The death certificate concluded that Mr Warner died from drowning and internal injuries from the fall on the dive boat.

Vincent's mother Debbie Warner raised a civil action against Orkney-based Scapa Flow Charters Limited who own the vessel.

However, at a previous hearing at the Court of Session, Mrs Warner and Vincent were told they could not make a claim as it was time barred.

After appealing at a second hearing, Vincent's claim was allowed to go ahead but insurers for Scapa Flow tried to have the child's claim blocked at the Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the court ruled the six-year-old's legal action should be allowed to proceed.

Lisa Gregory, partner at Digby Brown Solicitors who was instructed to act for the Supreme Court hearing, welcomed the ruling.

She said: "This is a unique case raising questions of domestic and international law.

"We hope this judgement helps improve access to justice for the individuals affected by this type of avoidable tragedy and plays a leading role in the improvement of maritime safety standards."

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