A landmark decision of the House of Lords could pave the way for some victims of sexual abuse to claim compensation from their attackers many years after it took place.
Mrs A, a retired teacher, has won the right to sue for damages a man who attacked her in 1988. Her attacker, Iorworth Hoare, was jailed for six sex attacks committed during the 1970s and 1980s.
At the time of the attack, Mrs A was advised not to bring a claim against Mr Hoare because he did not have any money. Instead, she made a claim to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and received just £5,000 in compensation.
However, since then Mr Hoare has scooped a £7 million win on the lottery after he bought a ticket whilst on day release from Leyhill open prison in 1994. Mrs A then commenced a claim for compensation in the High Court. However, the Court ruled that her claim was outside the legal six-year time limit for bringing a claim. The Court of Appeal rejected Mrs A’s appeal against this decision. When the Lords heard the case, they unanimously decided that the court should have the discretion to extend the period of claims in similar cases.