AN ex-soldier from Andover exaggerated his cold-related illness to receive a £1.6m payout from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), a High Court judge has ruled.

Michael Mantey, 39, claimed to have suffered a non-freezing cold injury (NFCI), also known as trench foot, while serving with the Royal Engineers in Estonia in 2017.

However, on Wednesday, Apirl 5, a High Court judge ruled that Mr Mantey had been 'fundamentally dishonest' and claimed he suffered a more serious injury 'for financial gain'.

The ruling came after the MoD produced video evidence to back up their claim that Mr Mantey faked the illness.

The video showed Mr Manety walking without a stick and wearing normal clothing, despite previously claiming he was so sensitive to the cold that he had to wear extra-warm clothes and use a walking stick.

Lawyers for the MoD requested the High Court rule his claim as "fundamentally dishonest", which could result in him having to pay their legal costs of around £70,000.

Mr Mantey had served in the British Army for over a decade before being medically discharged in 2020.

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In his claim, he stated that he had suffered an NFCI due to sleeping in bitterly cold conditions without a tent, as well as being exposed to other periods of damagingly cold weather during his service.

He alleged that his hands and feet had suffered nerve damage, which left him unable to walk without a stick and so sensitive to the cold that he had to keep running his heating.

However, the MoD said that Mr Mantey has faked his symptoms, pointing to video evidence of him wearing "opened-toed strappy sandals" and a "track suit top" in his home, despite claiming to need extra-warm clothes to keep him warm.

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During the court proceedings, Michael Mantey was cross-examined by MoD barrister Andrew Ward, who asked why he had claimed that he could not walk without a stick when he clearly could.

Mantey responded by stating that he was forced to use the crutch all the time but could walk without it for shorter distances when his medication had numbed the pain. He explained that on the day he was filmed, he had planned to walk his daughter to school, and so he had taken his medication and spent the previous day indoors.

The MoD acknowledged that Mantey may have had a minor NFCI, but they claimed that it would have resolved itself, and his £1.6 million compensation claim was based on lies about the severity of his injuries.

Ruling that Mr Mantey suffered a 'minor' non-freezing cold injury, Justice Stephen Eyre said he "dishonestly portrayed himself as having suffered a more serious injury for financial gain".