Nina Ross, instructed by Leigh Day, has been acting as part of the Counsel team for 38 claimants in Kenya and Uganda who were abused by a British Airways pilot Simon Wood.
British Airways has now agreed a settlement of the claims; however it denies any liability. The settlement will ensure that all those who were abused by Wood will be compensated.
Between around 2001 and 2013, Wood abused children and young women aged between around four and 18 in schools and orphanages in Kenya and Uganda. The abuse took place during Wood’s stopovers in these countries while he was taking part in charity work linked to the airline.
Wood committed suicide in 2013 after he was charged in the UK with indecent assault and making and possessing indecent photographs of a child.
The legal case was brought against Wood’s estate and British Airways. The claims against British Airways centered on whether the airline could be held vicariously liable for the actions of Wood and whether it owed to the claimants a duty of care.
Welcoming the settlement, Nichola Marshall, head of the international abuse team at Leigh Day said:
“For three years we have been fighting for compensation for these young girls whose childhoods were destroyed by the sexual abuse they were subjected to by Simon Wood, a British Airways Pilot.
“Now that British Airways has agreed to compensate our clients, a decision which we welcome, these girls we be able to complete their education, which for many was seriously disrupted because of the abuse. They will also be able to access therapeutic treatment to help relieve the psychological pain that has resulted from the abuse.
“Sadly we are seeing more and more of these cases of British child abusers travelling overseas where, by virtue of their sex, race, age and job title, they are able to exploit some of the most vulnerable children in the world in the most awful ways. This settlement should send a message to organisations which send their employees to work or volunteer with children. They need to ensure proper safeguards are in place to prevent such horrific acts.”
Responding to the news of the settlement, one of the claimants told Leigh Day:
“I am happy to know that the case is about to end and it has helped me a lot to know that I will move on without thinking about it. Am also happy about the compensation that I will receive it will help me a lot to be able to see a doctor and for my education so as I can finish school and go to university and get a good job so I can help others.”