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Wednesday, 21 August, 2002, 09:57 GMT 10:57 UK
Abuse victim's compensation cut
Thomas Worrall
Thomas Worrall outside the former St Leonard's home
A man who was sexually abused as a child by a worker in a care home has been told he will not be allowed full compensation because of his criminal record.

Thomas Worrall, 36, served four months 10 years ago for handling stolen goods.

That followed a string of probation orders and community service orders for breach of the peace.

He will now receive only 3,000 - 10,000 less than expected - after being abused over an eight-year period at St Leonard's home in Hornchurch, Essex.


I don't understand why they should punish you twice for a crime you've done many years ago

Thomas Worrall

Last year William Starling was sentenced to 14 years in prison after being found guilty of 19 counts of indecent abuse at the home, which was run by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

His boss Alan Prescott, a senior magistrate and Labour councillor, was also convicted of abuse at the home and served two years.

Mr Worrall applied for compensation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) after last October's trial.

He was told by letter that he would have received 13,000 but that it was being reduced by 75% because of his criminal conviction.

"I am stunned," he told BBC London. "I don't understand why they should punish you twice for a crime you've done many years ago."

Name change

He says the reasons he got into trouble with the law was because of his quick temper, which was the result of years of abuse at the St Leonard's home.

Clinical psychologist Simon Meyerson agrees with him.

"I'm actually stunned by this because the cause of someone going into prison is influenced very strongly by their experiences of abuse in care homes."

Mr Worrall has already campaigned successfully to have the name of a road in Hornchurch, named after one of his abusers, changed.

Now he has been told he can appeal against the CICA's decision.

A spokeswoman for the CICA said: "When taking into account people's criminal convictions we look at their cost on society.

"For example, the cost of keeping them in custody and court costs.

"If people are unhappy with the original decision and can produce further evidence, such as a psychiatric report or medical records to support their argument, the appeal panel would be happy to consider this."


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