Thugs' victim fights for compensation

BITTERNESS and frustration taint Matthew Cunningham's view of British justice today.The 21-year-old is desperately trying to get £1,000 compensation from two men who knocked him unconscious in a vicious attack 18 months after they admitted the beating.

By Colin Adwent

BITTERNESS and frustration taint Matthew Cunningham's view of British justice today.

The 21-year-old is desperately trying to get £1,000 compensation from two men who knocked him unconscious in a vicious attack 18 months after they admitted the beating.

The assault left Mr Cunningham with 14 stitches and he was unable to work for three weeks.


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Despite battling for nearly 18 months, all he has received in compensation is the meagre total of £40.

Meanwhile Kirk Gould 22, of Mill Road, Colchester and Daniel Smith, 21, of Church Road, West Mersea, have still to pay up the remainder.

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Now Mr Cunningham is calling for a proposed change in the law to be implemented immediately so victims are guaranteed the compensation awarded to them even if the guilty renege on their payments.

"They (Gould and Smith) were supposed to pay me £500 each," said Mr Cunningham. "So far I have received £20 from each of them.

"It is very frustrating. It seems like they are not going to pay and it doesn't give any incentive for others who commit crimes to pay.

"It makes me feel very bitter. "If you had to pay money into court and you knew you could get away with not doing so there wouldn't be any incentive to do it.

"It was a brutal attack."

A spokesman for Essex Magistrates Courts in Chelmsford said Gould went before magistrates last month as the authorities pursued the compensation.

"Kirk Gould was before Colchester magistrates for the outstanding matter," said the spokesman. "He is due to appear again on February 10."

The spokesman said Gould has been told he must be ready make a substantial part of the compensatory payment by the time he returns to court on Monday. Meanwhile he is being assessed for a money payment supervisory order.

But the situation with Smith is proving more difficult. He is currently on the run and a warrant has been out for his arrest since last August.

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