Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Sunday, 13 December 2009

Craig Sweeney victim's payout 'significantly increased'

Paedophile Craig Sweeney who abducted and sexually assaulted the three-year-old
Sweeney was jailed for life for taking the girl from her home

A young girl abducted and sexually assaulted by paedophile Craig Sweeney on early release from jail has had her compensation "significantly increased".

The girl, then three, was taken from Rumney, Cardiff in January 2006 and sexually assaulted by Sweeney, then 24.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (Cica) had awarded £12,000.

Their solicitor said the girl's mother believes the new award "more accurately reflects the incredibly serious nature of the injuries" her daughter suffered.

Sweeney drove to England and threw the girl out of the car after a police chase.

He was jailed for life in June 2006, but was told he could seek parole after just over five years.

The increased amount to be paid by the Cica to the victim, who is known only as Child A and is now seven, was decided by a hearing of the tribunals service in Newport on 10 December.

Solicitor Anna Mazzola said: "Child A's mother considers that the new award more accurately reflects the incredibly serious nature of the injuries sustained by her daughter.

"Now that this matter has been resolved and the civil claim against the police has settled, they will be more able to get on with their lives and give Child A the childhood she deserves."

The solicitor added: "I think it is highly regrettable that it took several years and two appeals for the Cica to recognise the severity of the injuries and to interpret the Scheme correctly.

"The last thing this family needed was another legal battle.

"However, we are pleased that the award now reflects the appalling nature of the crime and of our client's injuries."

Mental illness

The original award from Cica had already been increased on review from just under £8,000 to just over £12,000.

The new amount is not being released but it is understood not to be a figure of £27,000 that has been reported.

Anna Mazzola said they had appealed again against that award on several grounds.

These included that Cica had incorrectly assessed it on the basis of a single assault, despite the fact that the sexual assaults took place over a prolonged period of time and resulted in convictions on three counts.

Ms Mazzola said they also argued the girl should be compensated for permanent disabling mental illness confirmed by psychiatric prognosis.

A Cica spokesperson said: "To ensure that the application of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is as robust as possible, there are safeguards built in.

"If an applicant does not think their case was assessed fairly, they can ask to have it reviewed.

"If they remain unhappy after their review they can ask for an independent appeal from the tribunals service."

The girl's family have been separately compensated by South Wales Police who have apologised and said they did not do everything they should have done to protect the girl on the night of her abduction by Sweeney.

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