Railway worker held at gunpoint receives compensation05 December 2011
A railway worker who was threatened at gunpoint by a robber has received compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) after help from his trade union solicitors.
The 50-year-old was left suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after the terrifying ordeal in August 2006.
The employee was helping a colleague to close the ticket office for the night at a station in Kent when a fake gun was held to his head by serial armed robber Richard Mcdonald.
Mcdonald had walked out of an open prison just days earlier and had recruited his cousin Edward Woodbridge to help rob the station.
Armed with a butcher’s knife Woodbridge threatened his colleague forcing her to handover thousands of pounds in cash.
Both men were later arrested and pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence.
The RMT member, who was struck across the head during the hold-up, needed months of counselling after suffering from flashbacks and nightmares.
He was unable to return to work for several months and is now working in a non-customer facing role in a different department.
Following the robbery his trade union, the RMT, suggested he claim compensation from CICA.
CICA is a government organisation which pays money to those who have been physically or mentally injured because they were victims of a violent crime.
The RMT instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim. Thompsons was able to secure £45,550.
He said: The robbery was terrifying. We both thought we were going to be killed. I'm anxious and sometimes find it difficult to sleep at night. It has had a profound effect on my life. Fortunately I've now been able to return to work but I'll never be able to work as platform staff again.
“I'm grateful to the RMT and Thompsons for supporting me in my claim. I was worried about how I would pay my mortgage with having to take so much time of work. Fortunately this compensation will help me financially.”
A spokesperson from the RMT added: “Our members too often face dangerous situations at work. Our union consistently campaigns for safer workplaces where rail workers are not put at risk of attacks by the public. But they may always be vulnerable to criminal actions and we support them in their claims for compensation from the CICA. Our member had to take a long period off work and has returned to a lower salary because of this dreadful experience. It is right that he has received this award to help mitigate his losses.”
Harriet Wheeler from Thompsons Solicitors said: “The CICA allows the innocent victims of violent crimes to claim compensation for the injuries they sustain, the trauma they experienced and the losses they incurred as a result. Their assailants rarely have the means to financially compensate the victim, even if they are brought to justice. Successive governments have looked at reforming the CICA scheme and removing workplace victims from its scope. This case is evidence of why the CICA is vital for those who suffer traumatic ordeals at work.”
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