Family of Fiona Pilkington who killed herself and her daughter after years of abuse from yobs wins five-figure payout from police who failed to protect them
- Leicestershire Police will pay but haven't admitted liability
- Family's solicitor said 'achieving justice' was important
- It comes after four officers were cleared of misconduct
Police will pay out a five-figure sum to the grieving family of Fiona Pilkington who killed herself and her disabled daughter after a decade of unchecked abuse by yobs.
Officers failed to protect the mother who turned her car into a fireball while she and 18-year-old Francecca Hardwick, who had severe learning difficulties, sat inside.
The pair, who were repeatedly targeted by gangs of youths, were found in a layby in October 2007 a couple of miles from their home in Barwell, Leicestershire.
An inquest into their deaths two years later heard police were contacted 33 times in 10 years about anti-social behaviour - but the family only received eight visits from officers.
Ignored: Fiona Pilkington killed herself and her disabled daughter Francesca, 18, after a gang taunted them for ten years
A jury returned verdicts of suicide and unlawful killing, and said the response of Leicestershire Police and two local councils had contributed to what happened.
A claim for damages against the force on behalf of Ms Pilkington's son, Anthony, 21, who has learning difficulties, and her mother, Pam Cassell, 74, was lodged at the High Court last year.
The papers stated: 'Fiona Pilkington was driven to take this tragic action by the stress and anxiety she was suffering as a result of on-going anti-social behaviour, harassment, victimisation and bullying.'
Leicestershire Police tried to have the application dismissed, arguing its officers could not have foreseen that Ms Pilkington would kill herself and her daughter.
The bodies of Fiona Pilkington, 38, and her daughter Francesca Hardwick, 18, were discovered in a burnt out car
The family's solicitor, Jocelyn Cockburn, said: 'It was important for the family to achieve justice after going through a horrendous few years following the deaths of Fiona Pilkington and Francecca and it has given them a modicum of financial security going forward.
'The case also had enormous public interest because of public concern about the treatment of vulnerable and disabled people in society, and the case dealt with what duties the police have to protect people like Fiona and her family from anti-social behaviour and hate crime.'
Ms Pilkington was driven to taking her own life and the life of her daughter Francecca after being bullied by a teenage gang in Barwell. This was their house
It contained details of dozens of incidents reported by the family between 1997 and 2007.
It added: 'Over the entire period there were numerous occasions on which Fiona and Francecca did not leave their home as Fiona was so anxious about the abuse and anti-social behaviour they would otherwise suffer.'
Leicestershire Police were accused of failing in their duty, under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, to have suitable systems in place for investigating, controlling and suppressing harassment of members of the public - in particular vulnerable ones - and for managing the effects of such harassment on them.
Following an IPCC probe, four Leicestershire Police officers faced misconduct charges. But they were cleared after a series of internal hearings.
An IPCC report also found that the force had failed to identify Ms Pilkington and her daughter as vulnerable.
Speaking after its hearings, Dave Evans, Deputy Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, said the failings were of 'an organisational nature due to the systems and processes in place at the time'.
Speaking after today's announcement, Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole 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.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2112609/Family-mother-killed-daughter-committed-suicide-years-abuse-yobs-wins-figure-payout-police.html#ixzz1odks11V9
The year 2007 was spent covering up for the McCanns and keeeping information away from the PJ !