Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 14:23 UK

Disabled couple's payout removed

The High Court in London
The judges decided the council did not have a "duty of care" to the couple

A disabled couple who were attacked by youths have had a £100,000 damages award withdrawn on appeal.

Judges ruled Hounslow Council was not negligent in failing to look after the couple, who have learning disabilities.

The pair were abused by youths whom they had allowed to use their flat to take drugs and store stolen goods in November 2000.

The judges said they had "every sympathy" for the family, but the council was not responsible.

Vulnerable adults

The award made by the High Court in May 2008 was the first ruling to hold a council liable to protect vulnerable adults.

The married couple were imprisoned in their home and repeatedly assaulted by four youths during the attack.

A social worker had told police the vulnerable pair were being exploited, but was informed that no action could be taken unless the couple complained themselves.

The council employee had also called for the couple to be rehoused.

Lawyers for the couple argued the social worker should have realised they were in danger and had them moved.

Hounslow Council took their case to the Appeal Court which ruled the council had no duty of care to the couple.

Sir Anthony Clarke, who headed the appeal judges, said: "There is an important difference between a case where children assert that a duty of care is owed to them and a case like this where the claimants are adults living in the community, albeit vulnerable adults."

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Council fighting 100,000 payout
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