THE daughter of a deep sea diver killed in a horrific accident 26 years ago has finally won a “David and Goliath” battle for compensation.
Clare Lucas, 34, has been fighting the Norwegian government for more than two years over the death of her father, Roy.
He and four of his colleagues were killed in an accident on the Byford Dolphin oil rig, in Norwegian-owned North Sea waters, on November 5, 1983.
At the time the authorities blamed human error, but evidence was later uncovered suggesting equipment they were using was faulty.
Now Clare, of Longwood, has been awarded just over £100,000 in compensation.
She said: “It has been very much a case of David and Goliath, but I had quite a religious upbringing, so I always knew that David beat Goliath and I knew I was right.
“I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
“It has never been about the money, it’s about the principle.”
Mr Lucas, who was 38, was in a diving bell with his colleague Billy Crammond when the incident happened.
Mr Crammond opened a hatch to the decompression chamber they were working in, instantly causing it to lose a huge amount of pressure.
There was a massive explosion which claimed the lives of the two men and three others.
Evidence showed there were faults with the equipment, including a lack of fail-safe locks on some of the clamp openings and a faulty pressure gauge.
Clare, who now works as a toy product developer, lived with her mother Frances, sister Heidi, now 40, and brother Stephen, now 36, in Lincoln at the time.
She was eight and had never met her father – he and her mother had separated eight years earlier.
She said: “I could never explain how my life has been affected by my dad being killed.
“This fight has been about justice and getting some kind of closure. The Norwegian government have never really acknowledged our existence.
“Yes they can chuck some money at you, but it doesn’t take away the fact that I had a very painful upbringing.”
Clare led the fight for compensation on behalf of the five families.
They were initially denied compensation last November because of a legal loophole.
But Clare appointed a lawyer to fight the case and the Norwegian government backed down.
She said the government had never apologised and never formally acknowledged it was at fault.
And she said she would continue to fight for the child pension pay-outs she believes she and her brother and sister are entitled to.
She said the money would have helped her mother look after the family before her death from multiple sclerosis at just 37.
“They think because we have got the compensation, we will walk away happy,” she said.
“But they have missed the point, which is that it’s about principle.
“I had to fight for my own survival. If my mum had had that child pension, it would have helped her no end.”