Machete attack children finally win compensation02 April 2003
Criminal Injury Claim
Two children horrifically injured in a machete attack at a teddy bear's picnic have finally been awarded compensation for their injuries by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
Reena Chopra and Ahmed Malik who received terrible wounds and psychological trauma when they were attacked in 1996 at their West Midlands school along with teacher Lisa Potts and fellow pupil Francesca Quintyne, have both been awarded £20,000 for psychiatric damage.
But they have received minimal compensation for their physical injuries.
Thompsons pleaded for cases to be re-opened
The award comes after Thompsons Solicitors, the firm which represented Francesca, pleaded with the CICA to see sense over its refusal to reopen Reena and Ahmed's cases. Both children originally received awards for scarring but nothing for the psychological damage and the CICA last year refused to consider looking again at these.
In spite of the welcome increase in the payments to the children, money that will be used for medical treatment they may need in the future, it is still not enough, Thompsons says.
Because of the way the CICA scheme operates, the children have each received just £750 for their other injuries. Their original awards no longer stand and have been deducted from the total compensation.
Permanent scarring on face
Reena has a permanent and unsightly five inch scar on her face. Ahmed's skull was fractured in the attack leaving a long scar on the top of his head. He suffers from epileptic fits which a neurosurgeon believes is almost certainly the result of the head injury. He still has not regained the normal function of his right arm which Campbell slashed with the machete.
Ann-Marie Wilson, the lawyer who has fought the children's cases said the award was a reminder of why the government still needs to change the CICA system.
"We welcome the fact that the CICA has finally seen sense and made an award for the terrible psychological damage these children have suffered. But it cannot be right that for the physical scarring that they receive just £750. Thompsons has repeatedly called on the government to change the scheme because as it stands now it is failing the victims of crime."
Self-conscious about her scar
Reena's mother Surinder said that while the family was relieved that the battle for compensation for her daughter's injuries was over, the memory of what happened to Rheena would live with them forever.
"Reena is heading towards her teenage years and is naturally self-conscious about her scar. It is extremely upsetting for her and she does everything she can to try to cover the scar. Thankfully with this money we may be able to pay for medical treatment that can reduce the scarring a little, but the fact is that it will never go away and this is still scant compensation for that."
Mr Malik, Ahmed's father, said: "Ahmed is permanently disabled and will need medical treatment for the rest of his life. We are grateful that this fact has finally been recognised by the CICA, but regret that it didn't do so sooner because we have lost valuable time in getting Ahmed the treatment he needs."
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