High Court awards one of the highest ever damages in a rape case to victim
A woman has been awarded a record amount of damages in a civil claim for rape amounting to £259,000, inclusive of interest, by the High Court in London. Amanda Lawson was repeatedly raped by the now deceased millionaire computer tycoon, Christopher Dawes. Nearly eight years after the events, the court has today accepted Miss Lawson’s account of events and has compensated her for the terrifying ordeal that she suffered.
In December 1998, Christopher Dawes, a computer entrepreneur, invited Miss Lawson to his hotel on the Channel Island of Alderney on the premise of interviewing her for a job running a new modelling agency. Put in contact with Mr Dawes by a friend, Miss Lawson had been told the job was the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’.
She was flown out to Alderney in a helicopter and expected to return that night. Once there it became clear that interviewing Miss Lawson was not Mr Dawes’ intention. Instead, Ms Lawson was forced to take crack cocaine against her will and was raped and sexually assaulted repeatedly over a three day period. Unable to leave the island due to the airport’s closure over the Christmas period and terrorised by Mr Dawes’ threatening behaviour she was trapped, unable to escape. Eventually, Mr Dawes released Miss Lawson who went directly to the police station.
Three months later, during which time the criminal investigation into the rape was still ongoing, Mr Dawes was killed in a car crash whilst driving his sports car.
Miss Lawson suffered significant psychiatric trauma as a consequence of the events in Alderney which led to the loss of her hairdressing business and the break up of a relationship which had been expected to end in marriage.
When she sued Mr Dawes’ estate, they defended by arguing that Miss Lawson was lying. However following a six day High Court trial, Mr Justice Eady today held that there was overwhelming evidence of Mr Dawes’ predatory behaviour towards women. He concluded that Miss Lawson was telling the truth and that she had been subjected to a terrifying ordeal involving multiple rape and sexual assault. This finding led him to award the high level of damages to her amounting to £259,000.
Miss Lawson’s solicitor, personal injury specialist, Jill Greenfield of Fieldfisher comments, “Amanda suffered an horrific ordeal at the hands of Christopher Dawes. This is, I understand, one of the highest awards made by a UK court in a rape case and reflects the truly devastating nature of what Amanda has been through.”
Amanda Lawson comments, “I hope that my actions give other rape victims the courage to stand up to their attackers, no matter who they are or how long it takes.”
Solicitor - Jill Greenfield, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP
Leading Counsel - Michael Soole QC, 4 New Square
Junior Counsel - Jalil Asif, 4 New Square
For comment please contact:
Jill Greenfield, Fieldfisher LLP on 020 7861 4968 or on her mobile: 07958 390777
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