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Surgeon disputes £300,000 claim

A surgeon's plea to hold face-to-face talks with the widower of a woman he killed in a car crash has been rejected by a sheriff.

Dr Benjamin Kendrick, of Chesham, Buckinghamshire, offered to meet Robert Johnston in a bid to agree a compensation claim.

The doctor was found guilty of killing Joan Johnston by driving carelessly and accepted liability at Perth Sheriff Court for damages relating to her death. But he is refusing to pay the full £300,000 claim and insists the victim's 30- stone (190.5kg) weight should have a bearing on the level of compensation.

Yesterday Dr Kendrick's solicitor Carla Melville said: "Substantial offers have been made by the defender and it is felt further negotiations could be successful."

However, Clair McArthur, for Mr Johnston, said: "My instructions are to oppose any continuation."

Dr Kendrick, 36, has questioned how long Mrs Johnston, 57, would have lived – as a result of her weight and the likely associated health difficulties – had she not died in the road crash.

The court was told experts were studying her life expectancy with a view to it making an impact on the amount of compensation the doctor would offer.

Dr Kendrick was fined £5000 and banned from driving for three years but walked free partly because of his victim's weight.

Sheriff Michael Fletcher ruled out jailing Dr Kendrick because his victim could have survived if she had been of average size.

Mr Johnston, 63, said: "The fact he's disputing this really makes it worse."

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