Payment denied to bereaved families

A POLICEMAN denied bereavement compensation for his son's murder after the collapse of the criminal injuries compensation scheme has appealed for legal help.

John Davis had the prospect of £10,000 compensation snatched away when the House of Lords threw out Home Secretary Michael Howard's controversial tariff-based scheme in April.

Although his application had already been lodged when the scheme crashed, the Norfolk chief inspector was told it must now be reassessed under the old system under which he and his wife would receive nothing.

A further 250 families are in the same predicament but Davis believes a legal challenge is possible and has been advised to seek counsel's opinion. He is dependent on pro bono help.

The House of Lords ruling against Howard's scheme was widely welcomed because it was regarded as less generous than the system it replaced.

But it did include improved provision for people bereaved by violent crime, a provision which will also be included in its replacement due to be introduced in April.

Victim Support points out that money was not clawed back from families lucky enough to have their applications considered before the House of Lords decision.

But its plea that the Government has a “moral obligation” to compensate the 250 affected families has fallen on deaf ears.

Home Office Minister David Maclean told Victim Support concessions were impossible.

Davis said he and his wife had planned to donate the money to an African hospital which had saved their son

Jason's life three years ago. “What's missing from all this is compassion. There is absolutely no compassion,” he said.

Offers of help sent to The Lawyer will be passed on to Davis, who is keen to hear from families in a similar position.