Two members of a Hove woman’s family face being jailed for lying to help her claim £1.5 million after she was knocked over by a bus.
Nabil Tadrous, 63, of Leighton Road, Hove, exaggerated the extent of his wife Thereza Daoud’s injuries, as did their daughter Sheri Brooks, 30, from Guildford.
Mrs Daoud, 55, suffered serious head injuries when she was hit by a bus in Queen’s Road, Brighton, six years ago, on Wednesday 2 November 2005.
She needed emergency surgery and spent almost two months in hospital and rehabilitation, returning home just before Christmas 2005.
She sued Brighton and Hove Buses for £1.5 million, claiming that she was a virtual cripple.
Mark Whittaker, of the bus company’s lawyers DWF, said after the case: “It was submitted on Mrs Daoud’s behalf that she had been seriously injured and disabled, that she had very limited mobility and that she needed an extensive and lifelong regime of care and case management.
“She attended a number of medical examinations during the course of the proceedings accompanied by either her husband, Nabil Tadrous, her daughter, Sherihan Brooks, or both.
“Over a period of 26 months the applicant obtained surveillance footage which showed Mrs Daoud struggling on a walking frame while attending a medical appointment even though earlier in the day she had been filmed walking unaided.
“The footage also showed her celebrating at her daughter’s wedding, shopping and going to a local salon, all the while maintaining that she had substantial mobility issues.
“Despite originally presenting a claim in the sum of £1.5 million, Mrs Daoud agreed to a settlement of £40,000 following disclosure of the surveillance evidence.
“However, having also agreed to pay the applicant’s costs, the settlement monies were offset against those costs and Mrs Daoud received nothing.”
After the case was settled Brighton and Hove Buses and its insurer accused Tadrous, a former director of Hove YMCA, and Brooks, of contempt of court.
They were found to be in contempt at the High Court in London by Lord Justice Richards and Mrs Justice Davies.
Their judgment said that the pair had presented a deliberately false picture to medical experts as to the extent of Mrs Daoud’s disabilities after the accident.
The judgment said: “There was no master plan to put forward a fraudulent claim but both of them appreciated that the greater the degree of physical disability that Mrs Daoud was found to have, the greater would be the likely award of damages.”
The claim against a second daughter, Merihan Tadrous, 28, also known as Merihan Tynan, was dismissed as she had not attended any of her mother’s medical appointments.
Roger French, managing director of Brighton and Hove Buses, said that the case showed that false insurance claims would not be tolerated as these were ultimately paid for by passengers.
The full judgment can be read here.
The two usual outcomes in a contempt case are a jail sentence or a fine.
Tadrous and Brooks are due to return to court on Thursday (20 October) to learn what sanction, if any, the judges will impose.
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