British Airways agree to settle legal claims following abuse commited by one of its pilots against girls in Kenya and Uganda.
The law firm acting on behalf of 38 children and young adults who were abused by a British Airways pilot whilst carrying out work in overseas organisations, including charities linked to the airline, have welcomed the decision by BA to settle their legal claim.
The Airline has agreed a settlement; however, they deny any liability.
The settlement will ensure that all those who were abused by First Officer Simon Wood will now be compensated. Wood, from Hertfordshire, committed suicide in 2013 after he was charged in the UK with indecent assault and making and possessing indecent photographs of a child.
Wood abused children and young women when they were aged between around 4 and 18 in schools and orphanages during stopovers in Kenya and Uganda between 2001 and 2013 whilst flying for British Airways.
The legal case centered on whether BA could be held vicariously liable for the actions of Wood and whether British Airways had a duty of care for the children abused in the countries Wood visited whilst working for the airline and taking part in charity work.
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“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 girls said:
“The money will help in my school fee at school because it has been a problem to me. And when I finish schooling I would like to start a business which could help me in the future.”
Another young woman 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.”
Another girl said simply: "I am so happy because as a child I have been listened to.”