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The BBC's Louise Elliot
"Her emotions are still raw"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 15:01 GMT
'Disappointing' 49,000 for Lisa Potts
Lisa Potts
Lisa Potts' arm was nearly severed in the attack
A former nursery nurse injured shielding children from a machete attack has been awarded 49,000 compensation - more than four years after the attack.

Nursery nurse Lisa Potts, 25, was awarded the George Medal for protecting her primary school class in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, from a paranoid schizophrenic.

Miss Potts, who suffered severe scarring, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, fought back tears at a news conference to voice her disappointment at the award.

She said it was inadequate considering the attack had ended her career.


She has been let down by a tariff system that is fatally flawed

Dave Prentis, Unison
The payment includes 250 for serious scarring to her body; 750 for partial loss of grip in one hand; 20,000 for permanent mental disorder and 28,000 for loss of earnings.

Three years ago Miss Potts was given an interim 8,000 payment.

The compensation system has also been severely criticised by her trade union, Unison.

General secretary Dave Prentis said Miss Potts had risked her life to protect the children in her care.

"But she has been let down by a tariff system that is fatally flawed and cannot reflect the pain and suffering that she has gone through.

Libel payouts

"I don't think that this level of compensation is adequate or fair," said Mr Prentis.

He compared Miss Potts' compensation to the 100,000 awarded to chef Marco Pierre White in libel damages recently and the 150,000 given to former England coach Kevin Keegan.

Mr Prentis called for a banding of awards so that the impact on each individual could be considered rather than a standard sum for each specific injury.

Lisa Potts after hearing of the award
A tearful-looking Lisa Potts
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (Cica) will only pay each victim for three injuries regardless of how many they suffered.

For the first injury a person is given 100% compensation, for the second 10% and the third 5%.

Last November, chief executive of the Cica, Howard Webber, apologised for the delay in settling the compensation sum.

"There are some pretty complicated calculations involved but we want to settle the case as soon as possible," he said.

The machete attack happened at St Luke's Primary School in Wolverhampton in 1996.

Operations

Ms Potts, who has now trained as a counsellor, shielded children from Horrett Campbell, who was subsequently jailed for life.

Her arm was almost severed in the attack and four children were injured.

Ms Potts has had three operations since then to repair damaged tendons, but still has little feeling in her left arm.

She said: "What I struggle with the most is not what happened to me but that I saw children being severed across the face, and most days I do think about it."

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