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Family settle claim against police

The family of a woman who killed herself and her disabled daughter after years of harassment by a gang have settled a claim against a police force.

Leicestershire Police confirmed a civil action brought by the family of Fiona Pilkington had been settled out of court.

Ms Pilkington and her 18-year-old daughter Francecca Hardwick were both found dead in a burnt-out car in October 2007. They had complained to police 33 times after being harassed by youths in their home in Leicestershire.

The amount of the settlement has not been disclosed but is reported to be a five-figure sum.

Chief Constable Simon Cole, of Leicestershire Police, said: "I can confirm that the civil claim has been settled out of court - this has been done without admission of liability.

"This is a tragic case and I felt that it was the right thing to do to, for everyone concerned, to draw a line under the litigation.

"Since the sad events in October 2007 the Force has made significant changes to the way anti-social behaviour is dealt with and the way in which vulnerability is identified to ensure that the right support is given."

Ms Pilkington, 38, torched her Austin Maestro car at a lay-by near her home in Barwell, Leicestershire, while she and her disabled daughter sat inside. Their deaths followed 10 years of torment at the hands of yobs who taunted them and pelted their home with stones, eggs and flour.

A 180-page report published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in May last year found that mistakes were made by Leicestershire Police in recognising Ms Pilkington and Francecca as vulnerable.

It concluded the police officers had systems in place which should have highlighted the problems the family were suffering.


From Belfast Telegraph