Runcorn father seriously injured in Manchester Arena bombing regrets “unfair” compensation

A father of two who had to be placed in a coma after horrific injuries in the Manchester Arena bombing has claimed he has been ‘unfairly’ denied compensation.

Phil Hassell, of Runcorn, had to be placed in a medically induced coma so doctors could operate on his brain and remove shrapnel from his leg after the May 22, 2017 explosion, reports MEN.

The 41-year-old spent months in hospital and was unable to return to his job as scaffolding for over three years due to the severity of his injuries.

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Phil, who went to the concert with his daughters, says he has not been paid the compensation he believes he owes since the atrocity.

He has been told that it is due to a criminal conviction in the magistrate’s court, which he received over three years after the explosion.

Phil Hassell spent five hours in the theater for surgeons to remove shrapnel from his brain
Phil Hassell spent five hours in the theater for surgeons to remove shrapnel from his brain

Phil says the decision from the Justice Department has made him fight financially, claiming it has ‘forced him’ to return to his job as a scaffolder.

“I remember little things from the aftermath of the explosion, but not much,” he said.

“I had shrapnel in my brain, in my leg and in the side. I was in the theater for five hours while they removed shrapnel.”

Phil says he has since had to mount a plate in his leg and he still suffers from confusion and periods of bad mood.

He claims he received some money from the One Love fundraiser, which was set up by MEN and raised millions of pounds after Ariana’s Grande’s benefit concert.

But the father says he has been denied the full amount from the government’s Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme (CICS), due to a criminal conviction he received in 2020.

It is understood that Mr Hassell received an interim payment of £ 10,000 shortly after the explosion, but he has not received any money since.

He was convicted on one charge of sending a malicious inquiry to Warrington Magistrates’ Court on October 2 last year, and he was given a 12-month community order.

A letter signed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in July this year states that the verdict can be detained or reduced, “because the applicant to whom the verdict would be given has unused sentences”.

“They had originally offered me £ 23,000 a few years ago, but it was based on me being back at work when I was not, so I turned it down and appealed for more,” Phil said.

A scan of Phil Hassell's brain after the May 2017 explosion
A scan of Phil Hassell’s brain after the May 2017 explosion

The claim was still pending and I was then convicted of sending a malicious message last year.

“I have a brain injury and I was not thinking right when it (the offense) happened.

“Because I retaliated and did something I regret, I have been punished. They have said that now I have a criminal conviction that they can not give me anything, even though this happened three years after the event.

“If you put the two crimes in comparison, it’s almost dying to call an adult a name.”

Phil says he has tried to appeal the decision, but has not succeeded.

He has since had to return to his job as a scaffolder, despite still feeling the physical and psychological consequences of what happened to him.

“I’ve been forced back to work,” he said.

“I’ve now returned to the same company I used to work for, but I’m struggling a lot more to figure things out and I’m easily confused.

“It comes in stages where I feel really down, and then it subsides, but it could be anytime I could go back to feeling down.”

A government spokesman said: “These attacks were morbid acts of terrorism and although no amount of money can compensate for the suffering, we are determined to give the victims the support they need.

“But to reflect the cost to society caused by violations, unused judgments can lead to compensation payments being reduced or withheld.”


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