Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Facing Jail, Mother of 13 Who Made [Pounds Sterling]750k Bogus Injury Claim; Ex-Dinner Lady Lied about Stairs 'Buttock Shuffle'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Facing Jail, Mother of 13 Who Made [Pounds Sterling]750k Bogus Injury Claim; Ex-Dinner Lady Lied about Stairs 'Buttock Shuffle'

Article excerpt

Byline: Lindsay Watling and Martin Bentham

A GRANDMOTHER who tried to claim more than [pounds sterling]750,000 compensation after falsely stating she could only shuffle downstairs on her buttocks because of a fall was facing jail today, after a landmark High Court ruling.

Barbara Fari, a mother of 13, sued Homes for Haringey on the grounds that her life had been "drastically altered" after she tripped on a paving stone in Hornsey in May 2008 and hurt her knee.

But she is now facing a potential prison sentence after a judge found her and her husband Piper in contempt of court for grossly exaggerating the impact of the accident.

The ruling came after Mr Justice Spencer watched covert video footage showing Mrs Fari moving freely. It was immediately greeted as a groundbreaking victory in the battle against "compensation culture", and it could pave the way for other fraudulent claimants to be jailed.

Announcing his decision, Mr Justice Spencer said the surveillance film had proved Mrs Fari to be lying about her injuries. "It's impossible to reconcile the comparatively sprightly Mrs Fari with the badly crippled Mrs Fari," he said.

"She has throughout exaggerated to the medical witnesses her continuing level of disability arising from the accident."

The legal battle began when Jamaican-born Mrs Fari, 59, tripped on a paving stone outside her home in Hornsey in May 2008. Homes for Haringey, which manages the borough's council housing, initially admitted liability and offered to settle, but changed its mind after Mrs Fari said she needed round-the-clock care.

She lodged a claim for more than [pounds sterling]750,000 but it was struck out at Central London county court last October, after Mrs Fari was caught on camera moving around without help and carrying shopping bags uphill during a secret surveillance operation.

The case was referred to the High Court for abuse of process, and today the former dinner lady, who suffers from arthritis due to a previous injury, and husband Piper were found to be in contempt of court. …

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