Criminal Injury

Woman who witnessed brutal murder of mother and sister 40 years ago urges other victims to seek CICA support ‘they deserve’

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Tracy Thames

Litigation Executive

5 min read time

A woman who witnessed the brutal murder of her mother and sister in 1982 is urging others who have lost loved ones as a result of violence to seek the support they are entitled to.

Now aged 58, the woman was just 17 years old when her family members died at the hands of her mother’s partner.

The killings had a “deep and painful” effect on her mental health and it wasn’t until 40-years later that she reached out for the help she was entitled too.

“As a teenager it really knocked it all out of me. My world came crashing down; I was left alone and felt I had no prospects.

“Without my mother and sister, I felt unsettled and just drifted from pillar to post for many years,” she recalled.

‘Even to this day I still have breakdowns’

It wasn’t until 2021 that she finally contacted the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) and was subsequently awarded almost £6,000 as a recognition of the devastating loss she suffered.

She says the murders robbed her of her future and her ambitions and led to years of depression that left her needing psychiatric care, which she says she often found hard to access.

“At 17 I was damaged, but there was no real help. Now, even to this day I still need antidepressants and I still have breakdowns,” she said.

As a teenager in Hackney, East London, she was living with her mother and two sisters along with 48-year-old Albert Allen.

Allen had been making sexual advances towards her and eventually she told her mother, who, in May 1982, confronted him. Allen became angry and threatening and the mother sent her teenage daughter to neighbours to call the police.

But when she returned the door was shut and she could hear her mother and sisters crying and screaming. When she looked through the letterbox Allen was threatening her mother with a kitchen knife.

Deeply traumatised, the 17-year-old ran again to call for help but by this time there was smoke coming from the home and the fire service arrived.

Breaking down the door her youngest sister was carried out alive, but her mother and other sister were dead due to multiple stab wounds. At his trial Allen denied murder and the teenager had to give evidence against him.

“That day will never leave me. I was all alone at court, I felt so vulnerable and I had to look at photos and videos and there was no support both during and after,” she recalled.

A jury found Allen guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison.

‘She has lived with the effects of an appalling, brutal murder’

The woman says she was unable to process her grief for many years and relationships with her family broke down over the subsequent decades. But in 2021 she contacted Hudgell Solicitors to inquire about a CICA claim, “I just woke up one day and thought, even though the award can never replace the pain, it is something that I am entitled to and it’s there to support people in difficult times.”

In her claim she was represented by litigation executive and CICA expert Tracy Thames who said:

“It has been an honour to represent my client. She has lived with the effects of an appalling, brutal murder that took her mother and sister away from her when she was just 17.

“She was left with no-one else to rely on and support her and has had to struggle through after being severely traumatised. It is hard to imagine how she did it.

“But she has been strong and brave, and for her the time has come to seek the help and support she so rightly deserves.”

CICA payments are to acknowledge the loss of a loved one

The government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) provides support in the form of awards to bereaved relatives where a close family member has died as a direct result of a violent crime.

The CICA payments are to acknowledge the loss of a loved one and to provide support to family members.

CICA Bereavement Awards are set at £11,000 where there is one qualifying relative. Where there is more than one, such as children and dependents, awards are set at £5,500.

The woman says the award has made a difference, “I finally feel that my voice has been heard; that I’ve been believed and that things that happened were not my fault. The pain doesn’t go away but I now feel more at ease.

“Tracy has been a wonderful inspiration and a huge support. I now want to tell others who’ve been through a similar experience – keep pushing for the justice you deserve; doors will open so keep fighting.”

The woman, who does not wish to be named, is now seeking further support from CICA for the mental injuries she sustained as a result of the murders.

Making a Criminal Injuries Claim

If you or a member of your family has come to harm as a result of a criminal injury, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. We put your interests first, ensuring the most appropriate and effective legal specialists are handling your claim.

The first step is to get in touch using our online claim form. From here, one of our expert criminal injury lawyers will contact you for a confidential discussion of your circumstances, guiding you on the best path forward.

Read more: Criminal Injuries Compensation Claims

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