'Lotto rapist' victim wins right to sue attacker

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The Independent Online

Twenty years after she was attacked by a serial rapist who went on to win the lottery, a retired teacher has won her long legal battle to claim compensation from the man she says destroyed her life.

While Iorworth Hoare was living in a £700,000 country house and enjoying the millions he won from a Lotto Extra ticket he bought on day release from prison, his 78-year-old victim continued to cope with the trauma of the brutal assault, having been awarded just £5,000 for the injuries she suffered.

For three years she fought a legal system that said she had run out of time to sue Hoare, 59. But yesterday she finally triumphed as a High Court judge gave her the go ahead to claim substantial damages against the man dubbed the "Lotto Rapist".

Describing the case as "wholly exceptional", Mr Justice Coulson waived the six-year time limit in which such claims must usually be launched.

"Emphatically" rejecting suggestions by Hoare's lawyers that their client – who was convicted of multiple rapes and sexual assaults – had paid his debt to society after serving 16 years of his life sentence and had put his criminal past behind him, Mr Coulson said: "Such was the seriousness of his life of sex offending, culminating in his assault upon Mrs A, he can never fully put the past behind him. In the circumstances, Hoare's desire not to be 'vexed' with the continuation of these proceedings is hardly an important consideration".

The court heard that the woman suffered an appalling sex attack by Hoare at Roundhay Park, Leeds, in 1988. Hoare, who already had six previous convictions for rape and other sex offences, was jailed for life after a jury convicted him of attempted rape. But 16 years later, shortly before his release on licence in 2004, Hoare's fortunes changed when he won £7m on the lottery.

Mrs A, meanwhile, had been reduced to "a nervous wreck" by the sex assault. She continued to suffer nightmares, her self esteem had been destroyed and her whole life, including relationships, was overshadowed by it. Despite her attempts to "block out" the memory of her ordeal, she had endured a "classic constellation of symptoms" of post traumatic stress disorder, the court heard.

When she learnt that her penniless attacker was now worth millions, she decided to sue him for damages but ran into a serious legal hurdle when informed that she had long passed the six-year-time limit.

But yesterday Mr Coulson allowed Mrs A to press ahead with her claim, adding there should now be "a speedy trial".

Speaking after an earlier hearing, Mrs A said: "No amount of money could mend the hurt he has inflicted on me. It was never about the money, it was about the justice, or injustice, in this case."