Irwin Mitchell Secures £500,000 Compensation Payout For Amy Lea

Maximum Criminal Injuries Compensation Awarded

19.12.2008

A Newcastle girl left blind and disabled when she was violently shaken by her father has secured a £500,000 criminal injuries compensation settlement.

The award to Amy Lea Laycock, now aged four, is the maximum possible under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2001, which awards compensation to victims of crime. Her lawyer, Irwin Mitchell solicitor Paul Brown, has criticised the system, claiming the payout should have been at least six times higher to reflect Amy Lea Laycock’s lifelong care needs.

Amy, of West Newcastle, was just 10 weeks old when her father David Charlton assaulted her. He was convicted of GBH with intent and given an eight-year jail sentence in January 2006, while Amy was left needing round-the-clock care for the rest of her life.

Mr Brown said: "The assault that Amy was subjected to was horrific and left her requiring 24 hour care for the rest of her life.

"The payment that we secured for Amy will be used to provide an improved quality of life for her  for the future and will be managed by the Court of Protection under the supervision of a specialist team at Irwin Mitchell to ensure that it is spent with her best interests in mind.

"While we are pleased to have secured £500,000 for Amy’s future care – the maximum possible award in cases like this – we would have preferred the scheme to have been much more generous to accurately reflect Amy’s true needs.

"Usually in personal injury cases, the settlement would be carefully assessed, to ensure it accurately reflects the long-term care needs of the victim. However, because Amy was unfortunate enough to have been inflicted with such serious injuries during a criminal assault, her payout is capped at this level by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).

"It’s a poignant twist of fate that had Amy been injured before 1996, she would have been entitled to far more compensation but a cap was introduced by the then Home Secretary Michael Howard.

"Despite a White Paper in 2005 calling for change in the scheme – along with pressure following the horrific injuries that were inflicted on people in the London bombings in July 2005 – the cap remains, and people like Amy who have been catastrophically injured after being victims of crime will continue to go under-compensated.

"The CICA settlement will certainly help a lot, but Amy will continue to have to rely on publicly-funded services to support her."

Amy’s mother, Emma Laycock, welcomed the settlement and said: “I am just relieved that now I can give Amy an improved quality of life.

"I am so grateful to my solicitors for being able to arrange this payment for Amy and to my family who have been so supportive and who share in the care for Amy. We love her so much and can now feel certain that we can provide for her immediate future."

If you have been injured in a violent crime, our specialist solicitors could help you to secure criminal injury compensation. Our lawyers have helped clients after many different incidents, often through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) scheme. Contact us for advice today.