Families Of Algeria Terror Attack Victims Set For High Court Battle Against BP

High Court Proceedings Issued By Families Of BP employees Killed at Algerian gas facility


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Families who lost loved ones during a terrorist attack at the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in January 2013 have now issued court proceedings in the High Court in London against BP.

The proceedings follow BP’s denials of liability despite criticism of security measures at the site by the Coroner who investigated the deaths of seven British residents killed during the attack.

Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell represent the families of BP employees Carlos Estrada Valencia (aged 44) and Sebastian John (aged 26) who were killed when an Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group attacked the In Amenas gas facility in January 2013.

The families are pursuing civil claims against BP for allegedly failing to take reasonable steps to protect them at the In Amenas gas plant. Carlos Estrada Valencia was a senior BP executive, while Sebastian, was a talented civil engineer who was the youngest Briton to be killed in the tragedy.

Now High Court proceedings have been issued against BP and there is also an on-going case against BP in Texas, USA, arising from the same incident.

In February 2015, following a 29-day Inquest into the deaths of the seven British residents killed in the incident, the Coroner used his narrative conclusion to highlight a number of security flaws at the plant. 

Expert Opinion
“In the light of BP’s denial of liability, our clients have now commenced court proceedings to help them secure the justice they seek following the deaths of Carlos and Sebastian.

“The past three years have been incredibly difficult for all of our clients and they were deeply shocked at the Inquest to hear of the serious security issues at the site where both Carlos and Sebastian were working. We are continuing to support the families as they overcome the trauma of losing their loved ones in such tragic circumstances.

“As well as seeking justice for our clients, it is crucial that lessons are learned from what occurred at In Amenas. All organisations with employees working abroad must carefully review their operations and ensure that the safety and security of their employees is their number one priority. Special care needs to be taken where there is a high risk of attack from terrorists.”
Clive Garner, Partner

Carlos’ widow, Claudia Gaviria, who lives in Surrey with the couple’s two daughters aged nine and 13, said: “It was heart-breaking hearing the evidence presented at the Inquest and I still find it difficult to understand how one day Carlos said good-bye as he headed off to work, never to return.

“Carlos was immensely loyal to BP for 18 years but we were kept in the dark for so long about what happened to him and I am now bitterly disappointed that BP continues to deny liability forcing us to take matters through the court system.”

Sebastian John was just 26-years-old and was the youngest of the Britons killed at In Amenas. He had only recently started working for BP before being deployed at the gas facility.  

His widow Nicola John, who lives in Norwich with their young son, said: “I am very saddened and disappointed to learn that BP has denied liability following the attack in Algeria and the loss of my husband Sebastian, which has resulted in us having to issue Court proceedings.”

Irwin Mitchell also represents many of those injured and the family members of those who died in the Tunisia terrorist attack last June as well as the Germanwings aviation tragedy and the Shoreham air show crash.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in representing victims of terrorist attacks.