A nine year old girl who suffered severe brain damage after a hospital failed to treat her meningitis quickly enough has been awarded a £5.5 million compensation package at the High Court.

Ellie Sutton, of Witham, was just eight months old when she was referred to the paediatric unit at Colchester Hospital after her Kelvedon GP suspected she was suffering from the brain disease.

Ellie’s mother Sarah Sutton said: “We were devastated when we found out that Ellie had suffered brain damage and even more heart-broken for her when we found out her condition could have been avoided had simple errors not been made.

"To watch our daughter struggle with everyday life is devastating on our family and no matter what happens nothing can change that."

Ellie was awarded a £2.4m lump sum settlement with further annual payments which will eventually reach £119k every year for the rest of her life.

The girl was left with severe brain damage, epilepsy and learning difficulties after doctors sent her home with a suspected stomach bug.

The money will cover her 24-hour care, physiotherapy, transport costs, therapy, specialist equipment and suitable adaptations to her accommodation so she can live as independently as possible.

A spokeman for Colchester General Hospital said: “The Trust has apologised unreservedly. The Trust acknowledges that errors were made in the failure to diagnose meningitis and expresses their sincere regret again to Mrs Sutton and to Ellie."