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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 11:02 GMT
Lords win for Lotto rapist victim
Iorworth Hoare
Iorworth Hoare now lives in luxury in Northumberland
A woman whose life was ruined by a sex attacker who went on to win 7m on the National Lottery has won the right to claim compensation from him.

Iorworth Hoare, 53, was jailed for life in May 1989 for the attempted rape of a 59-year-old woman, Mrs A, in Leeds.

He won 7m when he bought a lottery ticket while on day release from jail.

Five Law Lords ruled unanimously in favour of Mrs A, who asked for a change to a law which bars damages claims made more than six years after the event.

Four other appeals by people alleging sexual abuse many years ago also succeeded. These victims will now also be able to go to court to claim damages.

I am both delighted and relieved that I have succeeded in changing the law which will provide others in the future with the hope of achieving justice
Statement by Mrs A

All the cases have been sent back to the High Court to be reconsidered in the light of the House of Lords findings.

The Law Lords said that in all the cases High Court judges can exercise their discretion in deciding whether or not to hear compensation cases involving abuse.

In a statement released through her solicitor, Mrs A said: "I am both delighted and relieved that my appeal to the House of Lords has been successful and that I have succeeded in changing a law which will provide others in the future with a means of achieving justice.

"It was this, rather than financial gain, which motivated me to begin this process two years ago.

"It is to be hoped that my claim for damages against Iorworth Hoare will now be brought to a speedy resolution without the need for me to endure further protracted litigation.

"I hope that many others in the future will be able to benefit from the change in the law which I helped to bring about."

She had argued that Hoare should be made to pay for his "violent and disgusting sexual assault" that had left her mentally scarred.

Luxury lifestyle

Mrs A, a retired teacher, did not sue for damages at the time of Hoare's imprisonment because she had been told his lack of funds would have made it pointless

She received just 5,000 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board after the attack in February 1988.

Hoare was also jailed several times for a string of six sex attacks, including rape, two attempted rapes and three indecent assaults, during the 1970s and 1980s.

He now lives in a 700,000 mansion in Ponteland, Northumberland after he was one of three winners to share a 21m Lotto Extra jackpot on 7 August 2004.

Hoare had bought the ticket while on day release from Leyhill open prison in Gloucestershire and has enjoyed a life of luxury since he was freed on parole in March 2005.

In the same year Hoare was released, a High Court judge ruled a compensation claim by Mrs A was outside the legal six-year limit. The Appeal Court upheld that decision.

Historic claims

The Law Lords had been examining whether it was fair to preclude claims six years after an attack, or, in child abuse cases, more than six years after the victim reaches 18.

Speaking to the BBC, Mrs A's daughter said the legal battle had taken its toll on her mother and family.

She said her mother was "not a person to stand back".

"She's never been a wallflower in that sense. She's vulnerable but she's also strong."

She said the enormity of the victory would only sink in later.

"I think you go through a sequence of events and all of sudden you think, hang on, you know two or three years ago, we wondered, could we actually do it and yes, well blimey here we are."

Their ruling in favour of Mrs A could pave the way for thousands of actions by victims of sex abuse to make historic claims against their attackers, some dating back many years.

Victim Support welcomed the ruling but said it would help only a small number of people.

Spokesman Paul Fawcett said: "It's very good news for her but the wider significance is questionable because the vast majority of offenders don't have assets to chase.

"We have long campaigned for a public fund to allow the courts to award compensation, leaving it to the courts to recover assets from the offender and allowing the victim to walk away and put the crime behind them."

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Iorwerth Hoare served fifteen years in jail



SEE ALSO
Lotto rapist victim 'to win case'
06 Nov 07 |  West Yorkshire
Rape victim loses damages ruling
07 Oct 05 |  West Yorkshire
'Lottery rapist' freed from jail
31 Mar 05 |  West Yorkshire

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