Lesbian ex-soldier “disgusted at MoD” over payouts to injured
A lesbian former soldier who was awarded £187,000 in compensation for sex discrimination, victimisation and sexual harassment has said she is disgusted at the low sums paid to servicemen and women injured in action.
In November Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher, 32, told an employment tribunal in Leeds that her career in the Army had collapsed as a result of the actions of Staff Sergeant Ian Brown, 40, while she worked at an Army stables in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.
The tribunal heard how Ms Fletcher was subject to a sustained campaign of victimisation as she rejected the sergeant’s advances.
She left the Army in February 2008 after more than a decade in uniform.
During her tribunal she was subject to hostile headlines, such as “A tawdry tale of lesbian love in Army stables” in the Daily Mail.
Speaking to Radio 5 today, she attacked the payouts to injured soldiers.
“I feel sorry for these people who were injured in wars but they joined the Army knowing there was a risk they could come back injured or even dead,” she said.
“I didn’t join the Army to be harassed and bullied purely because of my sexuality and because of what happened with this sergeant.
“I believed I deserved compensation for what I had to go through and these people should do the same.
“To be honest, I’m disgusted in the MoD more than anything.”
“If I was those people I would fight against the MoD and get what they deserve because they do deserve a hell of a lot more money than what they got.
“But to compare me with these injured soldiers, there isn’t a comparison, it’s a different case altogether and I don’t think its fair to compare me to those people.”
Earlier this month the Sunday Telegraph revealed that the MoD is appealing against payments to 279 injured servicemen and women received under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
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The paper reported that “an estimated 11,000 servicemen have been wounded on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and in training since 2005.”
“The maximum a servicemen or woman can be awarded is £570,000 together with an index-linked tax-free payment for life dependent on their age, rank and length of service.”
The MoD is appealing £70,000 of Ms Fletcher’s damages.
“There is no place for harassment or discrimination of any sort in the Armed Forces and we are committed at the highest levels of leadership to dealing with it,” an MoD spokesman told the BBC.
“The Army has established an inquiry panel to investigate the wider related equality and diversity issues raised by this specific case.
“The panel is chaired by a Major General, who has been assisted by independent, external experts and is expected to report its findings later this year.”