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‘It was something I felt I had to do’

Thursday, 16 February 2017

‘It was something I felt I had to do’ thumbnailDenise Brewster pictured with her former fiance Lenny McMullan. The Coleraine woman last week won a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court. CC07-22s

A BALLYMONEY worker admits her father's dying wish helped inspire her to fight a lengthy legal battle which ended with victory in the Supreme Court in London last week.
Denise Brewster from Coleraine claims her late father Patrick's desire for his daughter to seek justice after she was denied access to her long-term partner's pension after he died suddenly played a key role in her decision to take the case to the highest court in the land.
On Wednesday, five Supreme Court justices unanimously agreed that the refusal to award the 42-year-old the pension was 'unlawful' - a decision which could have far-reaching consequences for millions of unmarried couples across the UK.
Ms Brewster and Lenny McMullan had lived together for 10 years and owned their own home when Mr McMullan died suddenly at Christmas in 2009, aged 32, just two days after the couple had got engaged.
At the time of his death he had worked for Translink for 15 years, paying into an occupational pension scheme administered by the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC).
If they had been married Ms Brewster would have automatically shared the pension that he had built up. Instead, co-habiting partners were only eligible for survivor's allowances in the same way if she had been nominated on a form. This form had not been completed, although Ms Brewster thought it had.
That began an eight year legal battle for Denise who initially won her case in the High Court in Northern Ireland. However, that decision was overturned in the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland before the case headed to the UK Supreme Court for a final decision last week.
*Read the full story in this week's Ballymoney Chronicle.

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