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Widow could still recieve big payout

PUBLISHED: 15:38 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:01 21 May 2010

HOPE is emerging that a widow who has been waiting for an insurance payout for two years since her husband's death will finally receive £50,000 from his former employer.

Hope emerged last night that a widow who has been waiting for an insurance payout for two years since her husband's death will finally receive £50,000 from his former employer.

When her husband's employer collapsed with debts of £4.5m, it looked like Sandra French might never get the insurance money she is owed. But now the owner of the company has pledged that she will be paid.

Mrs French, 46, from Ellingham, near Beccles, lost her husband, Tom, in a car accident just outside their door.

At the time, she told the EDP the heart-rending story of how she gave first aid to another driver who was injured, unaware that her husband lay dead or dying just yards away.

Mr French, who was 55, was a training manager for Yarmouth-based Derrick Services. The father of two had worked in the oil and gas industry for 30 years and had travelled all over the world training people to work at height on oil rigs.

He died on February 2, 2006 after going on a short errand to the Spar shop in nearby Kirby Cane, and was killed when another car collided with him as he reversed into his drive.

The insurance payout which was owed to her did not come through until last summer, nearly 18 months later. But although Derrick Services by now had the money from the insurers, it was never passed to Mrs French. In December the company was placed into administration after racking up losses on a major project. It was then sold to a new company, run by the previous firm's owner, Mike Smith.

Yesterday Mr Smith, who himself lost £1m in the collapse of the business, confirmed that the company had received £50,000 in an insurance payout and said he was "absolutely horrified to discover the money had not been paid".

"Tom French was a long-standing friend of mine and once I realised what had happened I made arrangements to ensure that she will be paid in full," he said.

Mrs French yesterday declined to comment.

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