Lawyers are calling for an urgent review of the system which awards compensation to victims of criminal injury after a young boy, who was left severely disabled after being attacked as a baby by his mother’s boyfriend, received just £500,000 compensation.

The payout is the maximum that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is able to award. It could have been three times higher if the case had been brought as a personal injury claim in the civil courts, says leading personal injury law firm Thompsons.

Ewan Marrin, now aged seven, was injured at just six months old when his mother left him with her boyfriend for an hour. He needed an emergency brain operation and is now virtually paralysed down the right side of his body, blind in one eye, cannot read or write and has severely impaired speech.

The boyfriend, Mark Guy, served 21 months in prison for wounding Ewan and also for attacking a pensioner with a crooklock. He was not sued because he had no assets.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Michael Laffey, of Thompsons Solicitors in South Shields, which brought the case on behalf of the Durham area of the National Union of Mineworkers, said: “Innocent victims of crime like Ewan receive a lot less than people with similar injuries who can make a civil claim against an insurance company after say an accident at work or a road accident.

“Thompsons represented a fire fighter who received terrible injuries very similar to Ewan’s in a car crash. He received £1.3m, yet, at the age of 50, he had a much shorter life span ahead of him than Ewan. The CICA estimates that Ewan will need at least £30,000 a year to pay for his care. What happens when the £500,000 runs out?”

The Law Commission has called for compensation in civil claims to be dramatically increased and Labour condemned the introduction of the tariff-based CICA scheme when they were in opposition, but have failed to live up to their promise to make it fair.

“On the one hand the Government wants to be seen as tough on crime, but on the other they are not prepared to properly compensate the innocent victims of crime,” Mr Laffey said

Compensation has to last a lifetime

Ewan’s mother, Michelle Coulson, of Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham said: “Ewan is a brilliant little boy. He is so determined and never gives up when he is trying to do something. He uses his mouth as an extra limb.

“But he can get very frustrated when he tries to tackle something that is difficult or when he cannot get his own way. Then he bites himself and bangs his head.”

A trust is being created for Ewan, with Thompsons and Ms Coulson as trustees, to invest the money on his behalf.

Ms Coulson said: “I didn’t even know about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority until I was told about it by the Durham Miners union and they took the case up for me. While £500,000 sounds a lot of money it’s got to last him a lifetime.

“It doesn’t seem fair to me that he gets less than someone in say a road traffic accident.”

Ewan’s grandfather Peter is a retired miner and lifetime NUM member. Thompsons have waived their fees in the case.

The BBC also reported this story.  For more information visit 'Criminal Injury payouts 'too low''.