A JUDGE said he could not put into words his admiration for the devoted parents of disabled Jessica Morgan after she was awarded £3.65 million in compensation at the High Court.

Jessica, from St James Way, Tredegar, was a 19-year-old college student and keen Army cadet with high hopes of a career in IT and multimedia when she was struck by a car in 1999.

Her barrister Bill Braithwaite QC said she suffered devastating injuries which mean she now has limited mobility, is unable to speak and needs round-the-clock care.

Judge Richard Seymour said of Jessica's parents, Graham, 54, and Florence, 53, after the huge compensation award: "It is almost impossible in words to express my admiration for Mr and Mrs Morgan.

"They have been compelled through circumstances to shoulder until quite recently the greater part of all the burdens of caring for their daughter."

As well as carrying out much of the physical work themselves, the judge said the couple, who have two other children - James, 28, and Jade, 13 - had supervised carers to ensure Jessica gets all the help she needs.

They had also performed the "difficult and it would seem often frustrating task" of ensuring Jessica received all the care she was entitled to from the local council and NHS Trust.

"It is not overstating the matter to say that both Mr and Mrs Morgan have devoted their lives to Jessica since the accident.

"I am entirely satisfied that such progress as she has been able to make... has been wholly due to their dedication."

During the eight-day court hearing, defence lawyers had argued, among other things, that Jessica's intensive care regime was more than she needed and that free care provided by the local authority should be deducted from the damages bill.

They also argued that the family had failed to "mitigate its loss" by refusing alternative offers of accommodation from Blaenau Gwent county borough council.

Jessica achieved all four of a possible four star awards of the Army Proficience Certificate, rising to the rank of corporal and herself becoming a cadet instructor. She also achieved bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh awards.

She was educated at Brynmawr grant maintained school and was a student at Coleg Gwent, studying IT, when the accident happened.

The judge said on a 100 per cent liability, Jessica would have been entitled to a total of £6.62 million in compensation for her injuries, including £4.1 million to cover the costs of her future care, £210,000 for her "pain, suffering and loss of amenity" and £746,844 to cover her accommodation costs.

After the 45 per cent deduction, the total payout came to £3.65 million.