Page last updated at 08:01 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 09:01 UK

Sex abuse compensation 'insult'

Craig Sweeney
Craig Sweeney threw the girl from his car while being chased

The mother of a Cardiff girl assaulted at the age of three by the paedophile Craig Sweeney has confirmed the family has been offered 9,000 compensation.

The woman has described the offer as "the final insult" saying it does not compensate her daughter for the ordeal.

Sweeney was jailed for life in June 2006, but was told he could seek parole after five years.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority said it pays awards under a "tariff system" for injuries.

The girl's mother said that when she heard the compensation figure: "I felt that they were having a laugh."

Sweeney, who was then aged 24 and living in Newport, abducted and sexually assaulted the girl in January 2006, while on early release after being jailed for another attack.

He sexually assaulted her again in a lay-by near Swindon and was caught only after police in Wiltshire chased his car.

At times Sweeney reached speeds of 100 mph with the terrified youngster in his car.

Police later found the little girl lying at the side of the road where she had been hurled out of the vehicle by Sweeney.

The mother of the girl, who is now six, said: "The minute she was taken, everything have gone wrong. That was two-and-a-half years ago and things are still going wrong.

"This is a baby involved, a little girl who was abducted and attacked by a paedophile. It's just like any other crime to everybody in the system. There's no justice for my baby at all.

"When I hear these things, anything to do with the case, I got a picture in my head of her being attacked. You put that in your head - her being attacked and that 9,000 offer - it just beggars belief.

It's not my money, it's not for me, it's for a baby who was subjected to a horrendous crime and all the money in the world won't make it better, but it will help
Victim's mother

"It's not my money, it's not for me, it's for a baby who was subjected to a horrendous crime and all the money in the world won't make it better, but it will help."

The woman said she had been given indications her daughter would receive between 40,000 and 70,000.

She said her daughter has had up to 10 counselling sessions but said she felt she needed more intense counselling.

"She is really down. She's crying a lot and she just wants to be with us. Her temper is coming out a lot now which is (a) quite disturbing temper compared to other six-year-olds," said the mother.

"She has no fear. That man took that baby's fear away. I've never seen a child with this behaviour. She will do the most dangerous things and not think twice about it.

"She'll run down the street, hoping that I will run and get her, just to reassure herself that I'm there because she doesn't trust us 100% still.

'Remembers his face'

"She will talk about 'the nasty man', (as she) calls him. She will say things about how fast he was driving in the car and when he told her shut up and hit her in the back, when he threw her out of the car and 'her policeman' .

"She always talks about them, but she never mentions about the assault."

The woman said she has concerns that her daughter may meet Sweeney in the street when he is released.

She said: "She remembers his face. She remembers that face clearly. It will take a hell of lot of counselling to get rid of that face, that's for sure."

Cardiff North MP Julie Morgan, who has worked with the family, said she felt the strict tariff system needed examination as the girl's trauma throughout her abduction may not have been taken into account.

She said: "It must seem at the end of all they've been through another bitter pill to swallow."

In a statement, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority said: "We cannot comment specifically on applications made to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, in order to protect applicants' confidentiality.

"CICA operates under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2001, as set down by Parliament. The scheme sets the levels of compensation depending on the injuries sustained.

"We pay awards under a tariff system that assigns each specific injury a fixed amount of compensation. Awards under this tariff range from 1,000 to 250,000."

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