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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 20:13 GMT 21:13 UK
Omagh victim was 'humiliated'
The scene of the Omagh bomb
The Omagh bomb left 29 people dead
Another woman injured in the Omagh bombing has said she felt humiliated while being examined by lawyers in her compensation claim.

Twenty-nine men, women and children died and hundreds were injured when the Real IRA detonated a car bomb in the County Tyrone town on 15 August 1998.

Mary Ellis was injured in her shoulder and leg and her eardrums were perforated.

She said she had to appear before a group of lawyers in her underwear, adding that one moved her bra strap for a better look at her shoulder.

Victims' Minister Des Browne
Des Browne will investigate claims

"I went into this small room and stripped to my knickers and bra.

"All of a sudden I saw this drove of men men coming through the door," she said.

"One of the men pulled my bra over my shoulder down to my arm. I felt so bad that day I didn't want to go back.

Because of the experience at the High Court in Belfast, Mrs Ellis said she did not want any compensation but later accepted the first offer she was made.

Four years after the Real IRA attack she still suffers pain.

Her comments on Tuesday come a day after another Omagh bombing victim described a similar ordeal.

Rosemary Ingram, 53, had to strip in front of a group of six lawyers.

The 500lb car bomb, the single worst attack in Northern Ireland in over 30 years of the Troubles, left her with scars on her legs and back.

While being assessed for compensation, a panel of six lawyers - three men and three women - asked her to strip to her underwear in front of them to see those wounds for themselves.

'Lessons'

Victims have been calling for a change in the procedures used when lawyers decide compensation pay outs.

Victims Minister Des Browne said he would investigate claims by some victims that they were treated "appallingly" by the Northern Ireland Compensation Agency.

"My understanding is that this practice, in looking particularly in looking at scars, is a practice that has been developed among lawyers and is long standing," he said.

"This procedure will not apply in criminal injuries compensation claims from now on."

The Northern Ireland Office said the greatest possible care was taken in assessing compensation and it recognised that it was a sensitive and painful issue for all concerned.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bomb victim Mary Ellis
"I felt so bad that day I didn't want to go back"
Click here for the full special report

Ombudsman report

Bomb trial verdict

Archive - the blast:

PANORAMA
See also:

23 Aug 02 | N Ireland
26 Jul 02 | N Ireland
25 Jul 02 | N Ireland
20 Feb 02 | N Ireland
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