Liverpool men admit staging ‘crash for cash’ insurance scam
Suspicions raised after ‘injured’ passengers seen running across dual carriageway to pub
Paul Bignell is an Assistant News Editor at The Independent. He has previously been the acting News Editor of the i Paper, a home news reporter for The Independent for one year and a reporter for the Independent on Sunday for six years.
Tuesday 20 August 2013
Three men have admitted staging a motorway “crash for cash” insurance scam involving 30 coach passengers – after a court heard how they were seen running across a dual carriageway to a pub despite complaining of personal injuries.
Liam Gray, 26, and Ben Carberry, 21, with Kevin Hamilton, 36, orchestrated a minor collision between a Renault Mégane car and a coach carrying 30 passengers from Liverpool to Manchester’s Belle Vue greyhound racing track, Southwark Crown Court was told.
Their aim was to claim up to £150,000 for whiplash in insurance claims, according to the Crown Prosecution Service.
After the “crash”, which the driver did not notice, passengers on the coach complained they had suffered personal injuries and wrote down their names on a piece of paper. They then asked to go back to Bootle in Liverpool and the coach driver watched as they ran across a dual carriageway to go to the pub, it is alleged.
All 30 passengers went on to make insurance claims for whiplash after the incident on 9 December 2011.
But investigators later found a message on a phone belonging to Carberry, a law student, in which he offered to pay “a grand” for “someone to do a crash”.
The plot, organised and arranged by Gray, Carberry and Hamilton, was intended to allow fraudulent damages claims for personal injuries, the prosecution said. Carberry, it is said, was an Everton FC fan and regularly arranged coaches for travelling fans.
On this trip, the prosecution said, he paid the coach driver Paul Woodruff to pick up the men, all aged between 18 and 25, at The Mons pub in Bootle, to take them to the dog track.
Gray obtained the car, with insurance, which Hamilton purposefully drove into the coach – initially telling police he was distracted by the car’s fuse box, which was attached with Blu Tack and had fallen off.
The 30 claims for whiplash were worth up to £5,000 each, bringing the cost up to a maximum of £150,000. The three men will appear in court at a later date for sentencing.
In a similar case, a Sheffield Crown Court was told today that mostly dishonest bus passengers were used to claim insurance payouts from a crash in the Yorkshire city. The accident-claims company, City Claims 4 U, based in Sheffield, is alleged to have filled the bus with its own passengers then deliberately staged the low-speed collision, leading to 26 fraudulent claims.
Sarah Drummond told Sheffield Crown Court her friend was handed two pieces of paper at the firm before the pair got on the double decker. The bus driver then drove the vehicle deliberately into the back of a car minutes later, which led to 26 people making almost identical whiplash claims. Ms Drummond said: “A form had my name on before I got on the bus. My friend asked me if I wanted to claim but I said no. It seemed fake.”
Prosecutor Katherine Robinson has told the court: “The plan was to load the bus with as many dishonest claimant passengers as possible and then submit a raft of claims for bogus personal injuries.” A total of 26 people made claims following the crash.
The trial continues.
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