Finsbury Park terror victims left ‘severely physically and mentally injured’
Survivors of the attack continue to fight for compensation.
Survivors of the Finsbury Park terror attack continue to fight for compensation after being left “severely physically and mentally injured” by their ordeal, their lawyer has said.
Dushal Mehta, a lawyer at Fieldfisher, is representing many of them in their ongoing legal claims for compensation as they rebuild their lives.
He issued a statement following the conviction of Darren Osborne for the murder of Makram Ali, 51, and the attempted murder of others.
He said: “This trial has been a horrendous ordeal for all those affected by the attack last June, particularly those called to give evidence in court, who had to come face to face with Darren Osborne.
“Several of our clients have been left severely physically and mentally injured, affecting their whole lives.
“Some have lost their jobs because of those injuries and have been unable to look after their wives and children as they would want.
“This is a proud, committed community who have joined together around the injured to support them in every way possible. They are reluctant to ask for outside help.
“We continue to work with the insurers of the van used as a weapon by Osborne to provide vital medical rehabilitation.
“But the mental scares suffered by the whole community are much more difficult to repair.”
Sharif Xamza was hit from behind on the head by the van as he was kneeling beside Mr Ali, trying to give him first aid.
He said it was “human” to try to help another human – and then you too become a victim of attack.
He is currently suffering ongoing problems due to the severe brain injury caused by the attack and gets flashbacks and nightmares.
Khalid Oumar, a trustee of the Mosque and founder of the Finsbury Park Attack victims’ voice forum, said all their thoughts were with the family of the late Makram Ali and all the victims of the attack.
Praising their strength and courage, he said: “The scars will stay with them forever, but the community is determined to go about daily life without fear and to stand together against victimisation and violence.
“Those affected are sincerely grateful for the help they have received.”
A change in the law weeks before the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017 saw a terrorism exclusion clause removed from certain insurance cover.
It meant insurers of vehicles used as weapons, as at the Finsbury Park Mosque, can be sued for compensation by those injured, supported by the Motor Insurance Bureau – the insurance industry fund.
Compensation can be more realistic than in the past, when victims relied on the government-run Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICS) which has been criticised for failing to offer sufficient support to victims of terrorism, according to Fieldfisher.
Jill Greenfield, head of personal injury at Fieldfisher, said the change is vitally important to victims of the Finsbury and Westminster terror attacks which both involved the use of vehicles.
She said: “We have a lot of very seriously injured clients whose access to rehabilitation would have been much more difficult before the change in the law.
“It’s absolutely crucial those affected get the right financial support, otherwise terrorists work on an economic level as well as inflicting physical and mental harm.”
Ms Greenfield has previously successfully campaigned to change the law allowing British victims of terrorism abroad to claim compensation from the UK government.