Soldier wins £300k payout after being deafened on firing range

·Freelance Writer
·2 min read
Thomas Borley was deafened on the firing range due to faulty equipment. (SWNS)
Thomas Borley was deafened on the firing range due to faulty equipment. (SWNS)

A soldier has won a six-figure payout from the British Army after faulty equipment on the firing range left him with hearing loss and tinnitus.

Thomas Borley, 33, was serving as an Armoured Cavalry soldier when his military career was cut short in 2016.

Mr Borley enlisted in the Army in April 2012, at the age of 23, and completed his training in November that year.

He began to suffer hearing problems around four years later, after spending long periods on firing ranges, taking part in training exercises and annual weapons tests.

He was later diagnosed with noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus – a ringing or buzzing that comes from inside your ears – and was medically discharged from the Army six years ago – meaning he was never able to achieve his dream of being promoted to Staff Sergeant.

Mr Borley believes the ear defenders he was given to wear were faulty and incompatible with his helmet and did not provide the level of protection they should have.

He also revealed on one occasion the ear pieces even fell out when a colleague nearby started up the engine of a tank.

The Ministry of Defence denied liability but have now agreed to pay Thomas Borley a £300,000 out of court settlement.
The Ministry of Defence denied liability but have now agreed to pay Thomas Borley a £300,000 out of court settlement. (SWNS)

Mr Borley made a claim under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) and was awarded £6,000 – but he said it was not enough to cover his loss of earnings and pension so he instructed medical negligence lawyers to investigate his case.

The Ministry of Defence denied liability, but have now agreed a £300,000 out of court settlement.

Mr Borley, from Leicestershire, says the funds will allow him to access the specialist therapies he requires and help him move forward with his life by funding training for a new job.

He said: “After being diagnosed with hearing loss and losing my career, I didn’t know what to do for a long time.

"But I’ve had so much support to help me get my life back on track and I can finally begin to look to the future without uncertainty and worry.”

Carol Purang, the specialist military injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Mr Borley, added: “While nothing can make up for what Tom has suffered, including losing his career, we’re pleased to have been able to help secure him settlement which will allow him to move forward with his life as best he can…

“Hearing loss and tinnitus are serious health issues which should never been downplayed.

"Not only do they affect a person physically, but can lead to psychological problems too.”