A FIREFIGHTER whose career was ended prematurely in a horrific freak accident has spoken of his relief at winning his compensation battle.

Leigh Redman, 44, was badly hurt after he was run over by a runaway Mini while he slept in a tent at a holiday park in Devon with his wife, Tracey.

The vehicle had been parked at the top of a hill, but careered down on top of the tent, leaving Mr Redman with fractures to his ribs, collar bone and back.

Now, with the help of solicitors and the Fire Brigades’ Union, retained fireman Mr Redman has won compensation from the insurer of the Mini owner.

He said: “The accident was like a waking nightmare, and we’re fortunate we both didn’t suffer more serious injuries and our daughter wasn’t in the tent with us.

“It has taken me a long time to come to terms with my injuries. I realise I’m never going to be 100% and it’s disappointing that I had to give up my duties with the fire service.

“It was a job I loved, but it became clear I was never going to be able to manage the physical aspects of the job.”

Mr Redman, who is also a Sedgemoor district councillor, still has to take painkillers every day to relieve the back pain and help him sleep after the 2008 incident.

Paul Woolstenholmes, of the FBU, said: “This was a horrific accident which could have easily been a double fatality.

“The impact of Mr Redman’s injuries has meant the fire service lost a loyal and hard-working firefighter.”

James Davies, of Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The owner of the Mini had a responsibility to make sure it was parked securely.

“His failure to do so had a significant impact on Leigh’s life.”

A spokesman for the Ladram Bay Holiday Park, near Exeter, where the incident happened, said the owner of the Mini had ignored warning signs.

He said: “The accident was deeply unfortunate, horrific and should never have happened.

“We did everything in our power to prohibit parking and it’s highly regrettable that the owners of the vehicle ignored the rules.”