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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Disabled woman wins tattoo claim
Rachael Monk
Rachael Monk wanted a tattoo of a small fairy on her arm
A Dumfriesshire woman has won 2,500 in compensation from a Blackpool parlour which refused to give her a tattoo because she was disabled.

Rachael Monk, 24, of Kirkpatrick Fleming, near Annan, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, went to the shop while on a family holiday.

She was refused the tattoo when she visited the Body Creation parlour.

The judge at Preston County Court ruled the shop owner had "made assumptions based upon her physical abilities".

Ms Monk, who speaks through a Delta Talker, wanted to have a tattoo of a fairy on her arm.

This is the right judgment and shows that such blatant discrimination can't be tolerated
Sir Bert Massie
DRC chairman

However, parlour owner Jordan Dean refused to carry out the work.

Preston County Court heard that he told her family: "We don't do people like that."

When they tried to reason with him, he telephoned his father, claiming he was his boss.

The father came to the shop and, according to the judge, adopted an "old-fashioned and highly discriminatory attitude" and offered "gratuitous insults".

After the incident the family contacted the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) for advice.

The DRC claimed it tried to resolve the dispute through its free conciliation service but Mr Dean did not respond to the offer.

When the case came to court he offered no evidence for his treatment of Ms Monk.

'Abundantly clear'

District Judge Gordon Ashton said it was "abundantly clear" that Ms Monk "knew her own mind" and wanted the tattoo.

He added that Mr Dean had not attempted to make any assessment of her vulnerability or capacity.

"He simply ignored her and made assumptions based upon her physical abilities," said Mr Ashton.

"I hope that after witnessing Rachael's performance in court Mr Dean has recognised how badly he misjudged her when she sought his services."

Ms Monk said she was happy that the small claims case was over.

"Hopefully this judgment will stop other shops doing the same thing," she said.

Decision welcomed

The court decision was also welcomed by the DRC.

"This is the right judgment and shows that such blatant discrimination can't be tolerated," said chairman Sir Bert Massie.

"Rachael has the right to do the same thing as other young people.

"This judgment should send out a warning to all businesses that outdated assumptions and ignorance about disabled people will not be tolerated."

Mr Dean was unavailable for comment.

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