A former manager in the Mersey Regional Ambulance Service who suffered two nervous breakdowns in the course of his job has been awarded £105,000 in damages.

Andrew Cowley, who had been director of operations, had sued the trust for damages for personal psychiatric injury alleging negligence, and claimed that he was the victim of harassment as a result of the abrasive, interfering management style of chief executive David Todhunter.

Although critical of Mr Todhunter's management style, Mr Justice Douglas Brown said:

'Allegations of bullying make easy headlines, and I want to make it clear that I do not regard Mr Todhunter as a bully.

'The first illness was caused by a combination of a heavy, but not inappropriate, workload and an inability by Mr Cowley to cope with Mr Todhunter's demands. '

But he said that, while the first illness was not foreseeable, the trust should have foreseen that continual pressure would probably result in Mr Cowley suffering a further breakdown.

He said that Mr Todhunter, who denied the allegations, had behaved 'unreasonably in a manner that was insensitive' and that the trust's human resources department had done nothing to remedy the situation.