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Psychiatric Consequences of Violent Crime

Published: 13 August 2014, in categories: Personal Injury Updates | Legal Updates | News and Updates

A distressed mother who says that she has never got over the trauma of seeing the father of her child lying on his death bed following a senseless assault has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that she is entitled to compensation for her psychiatric injuries.

The mother suffered the profound shock of witnessing the man she described as her soul mate lying terribly injured in hospital after the attack. She also later viewed his body at the undertakers, by which time it was in a state of decomposition and had several organs, including the eyes, missing. The man who carried out the attack was subsequently convicted of manslaughter and jailed for seven years.

The woman’s bid for compensation was, however, rejected by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) on the basis that she could not herself be viewed as a victim of violent crime. Her mental injuries had not been caused in the immediate aftermath of the assault but months later when she saw the victim’s body. That decision was subsequently upheld by the First-tier and Upper Tribunals.

Before the Court of Appeal, the woman argued that it was seeing her loved one in hospital soon after the attack which had triggered her mental injuries. However, in rejecting her challenge, the Court noted that that submission was plainly at variance with the thrust of her own evidence. Whilst expressing sympathy for the woman, the Court found that her appeal had no reasonable prospect of success.

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