Judge Rules Rapist Must Pay Victims’ Damages
LONDON (AP) _ A High Court judge ruled Wednesday that convicted rapist Christopher Meah must pay $25,400 in damages awarded to his two victims in a historic court decision.
The same judge, Justice Harry Woolf, had earlier awarded Meah $66,300 for head injuries suffered in a car crash. The judge accepted the former cab driver’s claim that the injuries caused a personality change that made him a sex offender.
On Tuesday, Woolf awarded $25,400 to two women Meah attacked, the first awards in an English court to victims of sex crimes.
On Wednesday the judge rejected Meah’s claim that 75 percent of the award to the women should be paid by the insurance company of the car driver involved in the accident that injured him.
Meah, who was given a life sentence for the attacks in 1983, was a passenger in a car that crashed into a tree in 1978. He was held 25 percent to blame for his injuries because he knew the driver was drunk when he accepted a ride.
Woolf also struck back at criticism from legislators and women’s groups who called the award to Meah excessive compared with the sums awarded his victims.
″It should not be forgotten that, but for that accident, Meah would not be spending the best part of his life in prison,″ making it unlikely that he would see his money for a long time, said Woolf.
The award benefitted Meah’s former wife and his child, the judge said.
One of his victims, who was raped and repeatedly stabbed, was awarded $15,200 and the other, who was sexually abused for 51/2 hours in the presence of her 2-year-old son, was awarded $10,300.