Belfast Telegraph

Cops make personal injury claim against Northern Ireland man held at knifepoint in car theft

A victim of crime who had his car stolen at knifepoint has told of his disbelief after three personal injury claims were made against him by police officers.

Terence Duffin's car was written off during a police chase in August 2016.

Mr Duffin told the BBC two armed men forced their way into his Newcastle home before pushing him into the kitchen. He was then threatened with carving knifes before the home was ransacked and his car taken.

The car was traced in Clough in Co Antrim and police then chased it to Belfast where it was rammed into the PSNI car. It wasn't until the car reached the Seven Mile straight in Antrim that police were able to stop it with a road block.

Mr Duffin said he was traumatised by the ordeal and "couldn't believe" it was happening to him.

However, now he has received civil claims from three police officers for their injuries - even though he was not in the car. Mr Duffin said it has served to bring back the memories of his theft.

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A PSNI spokesman said each incident depended on "individual circumstances" and that it did not hold information on officers making compensation claims against owners of stolen vehicles.

He said: "Each incident would very much depend on the individual circumstances and the insurance arrangements in place. Therefore this would be a private matter between the individual officer, like any other citizen injured by a stolen car, and the insurance company involved.

"Such information is not recorded or required by police.

"As with any collision the issue of the fault of the driver is also relevant, so for example, if an officer was held to be negligent, then other parties (even if this involved a stolen car) would direct their claims against the PSNI.

"It is important to note that the same rules apply for any individual wanting to pursue a civil claim, whether they are a police officer or member of the public."

Mr Duffin said his no-claims bonus was likely to be affected and expressed fears that his car insurance premiums could increase.

Confirming this may be the case, the PSNI spokesman added: "Although the victim is entirely innocent and someone else has stolen the vehicle, their insurance may go up as a result of a claim under their policy - that is simply the nature of car insurance."

Mr Duffin now has a new car and will wait to see what his insurance bill will be like.

He said: "I just have to live with it. It's bad enough with the criminal case coming up and now having this on top of me as well."

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