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U.K. victim loses bid to sue lottery win rapist

A 76-year-old victim of a convicted rapist failed on Friday in her bid to win the right to sue him after he became a millionaire through the national lottery while in prison.
/ Source: Reuters

A 76-year-old victim of a convicted rapist failed on Friday in her bid to win the right to sue him after he became a millionaire through the national lottery while in prison.

Iorworth Hoare had no money when he went to jail for life in 1989 but while on weekend leave from prison prior to his release he bought a lottery ticket and won 7 million pounds ($13 million).

In a legal test case, the victim claimed damages even though the normal six-year time limit for such claims had passed. The ex-teacher had sought permission to bypass the normal rules on the basis of Hoare’s new-found wealth.

But one of the UK’s top judges Justice Jack ruled on Friday the victim had left it too late to stake her claim.

The victim, who for legal reasons cannot be named, was appealing against an earlier refusal by a High Court junior judge to allow her to launch her claim late in view of the exceptional circumstances.

Her counsel, Alan Newman QC, described the ordeal she had undergone at the hands of Hoare.

1988 attack
He said the attack took place in February 1988 while the woman was walking in the grounds of Roundhay Park, Leeds.

“Without the slightest provocation on her part the defendant, without warning, moved rapidly behind her, put his arm around her shoulder, and pushed her to the ground,” he told the court. “He said if she made any noise he would hurt her.

“Thereafter he proceeded in the most vicious and disgusting manner to sexually assault the claimant.

“There can be not the slightest doubt that the claimant was subjected to an act of assault and battery which involved, at the minimum, psychiatric injury,” he said.

He explained to the judge that at the time there had been no point in the woman suing Hoare as he had no money and had spent most of his life in prison for a string of sex offences which were outlined in court.

Weekend leave win
However, Newman said that in 2004, anticipating his release from prison, Hoare was allowed out on weekend leave and it was then that he bought the winning lottery ticket.

His victim read about this in the media and, Newman said, launched the proceedings on the basis that “for the first time there was a realistic prospect of him having some money available to satisfy a judgment against him”.

Justice Jack was told that even if the lottery win was invested and left alone it would earn Hoare interest of 30,000 pounds a month.

Lawyers for the victim indicated they now hoped to appeal to the House of Lords against the decision.