Case report – child abuse claim 24 Feb 2016
L the Claimant received £300,000 in relation to a claim arising from sexual abuse inflicted on her as a child by a family friend LXF (deceased).
LXC ~v~ DXA
Out of court settlement January 2016.
L was born in 1963 and first met LXF when she was a child. She met him when she was around or about 8 years of age. LXF was 27 years of age. L spent a lot of time with LXF particularly in his workshop and shed where he kept his motorbike and pottered around.
L was sexually assaulted by LXF from the age of 8 years and this continued until she was 15 ½ years of age. She did not understand what was going on she thought that LXF was a friend and she was very confused.
Many unpleasant incidences took place and this led to L becoming very depressed at or about the age of 16 when LXF no longer wanted to spend time with her.
L then got married at the age of 24 but she was divorced at or about the age of 29 due to psychological difficulties and over a period of time her behaviour and mental health became very erratic. In 2010 she contacted the police to report the abuse that LXF inflicted on her and LXF was charged several months later. He was tried at Isleworth Crown Court in 2011 and was found guilty of all twelve counts against him and pleaded guilty to two but was found guilty of the remaining ten charges by the jury. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison and was released from prison in February 2013 to his home address which is local to L. He was then recalled to prison on two occasions and remained in prison where he was due to be released in November 2014. Unfortunately LXF died on 2 August 2014.
Proceedings were stayed. LXF prior to his death had only decided to instruct solicitors.
Prior to that proceedings were issued and served on LXF in prison he did not file a defence and L via her solicitors applied for default judgment and the application was successful.
Proceedings were stayed until such time that a relative of LXF, DA was substituted as Defendant.
There were other difficulties encountered at this time due to the fact that the deceased had bequeathed the majority of his estate to a well-known charity who disclaimed the inheritance under the estate.
The grant of probate was received in February 2015 where DA was appointed as executor of LXF’s estate.
During the course of the litigation L’s mental health deteriorated and she also suffered several strokes and latterly developed renal failure. She was placed on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and was referred to hospital for dialysis. The case was further complicated by virtue of the fact that L had other psychiatric difficulties which were unrelated to the abuse.
Proceedings were issued in April 2013 and served in August 2013 on the deceased who at the time was incarcerated and serving his prison sentence at HMP Brixton.
As stated above a defence was not filed and judgment was entered on L’s behalf. Various orders were made during the life of the case. Directions were thereafter in place and a trial date was fixed for 1 – 3 February 2016. Both parties complied with the directions save that the Defendant’s solicitor did not serve witness evidence.
Expert discussions took place in December 2015.
Negotiations commenced and L served her Schedule of Loss and Damage on the Defendants in January 2016. The Defendant made a Part 36 offer on 18 December 2015 in the sum of £150,000 in full and final settlement of L’s whole claim. Thereafter L made a counter offer in the sum of £483,500 and this was rejected by the Defendant who put forward a further offer of £275,000 and this was rejected by L and a counteroffer of £300,000 was put forward on L’s behalf. This was accepted by the Defendant.
An approval hearing took place on 2 February 2016 and damages were approved and an interim payment of costs was also agreed and paid to the Claimant’s solicitor by 3 February 2016.
The case settled on 27 January 2106, five days before trial.
The offer was global but can be broken down approximately as follows:-
General damages £80,000
Aggravated damages £10,000
Past special damages £80,000
Past care £35,000
Future losses £50,000
Interest on generals and aggravated damages £5,000
Interest on past losses £20,000
Payable within fourteen days of the date of the court order.
Stephanie Prior, Partner, Osbornes Solicitors LLP for the Claimant
Dan Clarke, Counsel for the Claimant, Outer Temple Chambers
Chun Wong, Partner, Hodge Jones & Allen for the Defendant
Sydney Chawatama, Counsel for the Defendant, One Crown Office Row