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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 November 2005, 14:47 GMT
Soho bomb survivors await pay-outs
Soho nail bomb victims
Some 70 people were injured and three killed in the attack
Tony Blair stepped in to speed up compensation for those injured in the London bombings - but other victims of violent crime have to wait years.

Victims of the Soho nail bomb attack in 1999 are still waiting for full compensation, File On 4 has found.

A solicitor for a number of those caught in the explosion in the Admiral Duncan pub, said the Criminal Injuries Authority was not equipped to deal with complex injury cases.

Ed Myers said the system was failing "those who lost limbs and livelihoods through no fault of their own."

Claims were needlessly passed from pillar to post, he added.

'Drip process'

"A complex injury case requires instructing a number of different doctors in different disciplines and assessing a variety of medical reports.

"There's a drip drip process as far as these cases are concerned whereby the authority has sought information from another agency that may have taken nine months to obtain.

"They wait until it is received before seeking further information, rather than simultaneously requesting it."

File On 4 hears from Gary Reid, a psychiatric nurse who is in a wheelchair after losing a leg and suffering other injuries in the Soho bombing.

He applied for criminal injuries compensation while still in hospital.

The authority initially offered him over 200,000 but sharply revised this when he queried their calculation.

He has had some interim payments of about 17,000 but is still waiting for his main award.

Speaking of Tony Blair's recent intervention to help the victims of the London bombings get their pay-outs quicker, Mr Reid said it would be an "injustice" for those out of the public eye to experience longer delays.

Character assessment

Each year more than 60,000 victims of violent crime apply for compensation but only half are successful.

Although there is a set scale of awards, the authority will not always pay out, or pay out in full, to victims without blameless records.

File On 4 also hears from a woman brain-damaged in a non-terrorist incident who waited nine years for a realistic compensation offer.

"Tracy" was paralysed after being attacked by her own brother at her home in Yorkshire in 1996. She has received interim payments of about 17,000.

Last March she was offered 120,000 - but this was cut in half when the authority received reports that Tracy had abused alcohol.

Her solictor, Caroline Thompson, said the allegations came from relatives who had sided with Tracy's brother when police charged him.

Ms Thompson wrote to Tony Blair in September when he announced moves to fast-track claims for the London bombing victims, demanding fairer treatment for others.

Last month the authority withdrew its allegation of Tracy's alcoholism and re-instated its initial offer of 120,000.

The government now accepts it is unacceptable for victims of violent crime to wait years for their compensation awards.

Home Office Minister Fiona McTaggart confirmed to File On 4 that a consulation process next month will be looking for ways to correct the system.

"People need to be properly compensated and that's why I'll publish next month a review of services to victims - not just compensation, but all the things victims need."

File On 4: BBC Radio 4, Tuesday 1 November, 2005 at 2000 GMT and repeated on Sunday 6 November, 2005 at 1700 GMT.

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