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Neston man jailed over Airbus back injury damages claim

A man who claimed about £48,000 in compensation for a back injury but was filmed carrying building materials, has been jailed for contempt of court.

Adam Roberts, 33, of Neston, Cheshire, claimed for damages after hurting his back while working for Airbus in 2007.

Insurance firm QBE investigated and filmed him moving without difficulty.

Sentencing him to six months, Lord Justice Moore-Bick at the High Court, said were it not for video evidence a payout would have been "very likely".

Roberts fell and twisted his back while fitting cable to the wing of an Airbus 380 at the company's factory in Broughton, Flintshire in 2007.

'No recollection'

He said in a written statement that the injury had left him able to "only walk short distances" and needing to use two crutches.

He claimed damages from Airbus of about £28,000 for loss of earnings and £20,000 to cover "care and assistance".

However, the company and QBE were unconvinced by his claim and decided to investigate, gathering footage of him working at a house in Ellesmere Port.

The court was told he was seen carrying "a wash basin, a lavatory and several bags full of some kind of rubbish" and picking up a cabinet to ram it "repeatedly and forcefully" into a skip.

In a statement, Roberts had said he had "no recollection of the day because of the drugs he had taken".

Airbus and insurance firm QBE suspected Roberts was malingering and asked judges to find him in contempt.

'Not entitled'

Lord Justice Moore-Bick said Roberts was in contempt because he had made a statement which he "knew to be false with a view to influencing the outcome of proceedings".

He said that on the evidence of the video, it was clear that Roberts "was not significantly disabled and his condition was not as he described it".

He added that "had it not been for the surveillance evidence, it is very likely that the statement, supported by what he had told the doctors, would have led to his being awarded a substantial sum in damages to which he was not entitled".

Solicitor David Evans, who represented Airbus and QBE, said after the hearing that the work Roberts was filmed doing was "wholly incompatible with the assertions of pain and disability he made in his claim".

He added that "cases such as this send out a warning to would-be perpetrators".

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