Wales

London 7/7 Newbridge bombing victim's compensation bid

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Media captionLondon 7/7 bombings victim Stefano Poborko is still waiting for compensation

A man from south Wales injured in the 7 July bombings in London has criticised the time it has taken for his compensation claim to be dealt with.

Stefano Poborko, 52, suffered burns in the blast on a Tube train between King's Cross and Aldgate when a suicide bomber detonated a device in 2005.

He applied in March 2015 to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) but is still waiting.

The CICA said it deals with all applications "as quickly as possible".

On the day of the tube attacks in 2005, Mr Poborka, who now lives in Newbridge, Caerphilly county, was running late for a work meeting, and suffered burns to his back, head and ear in the blast.

He said a fellow passenger died in his arms before emergency services arrived.

The attack, was one of four explosions targeting three tube trains and a bus and was the worst single terrorist attack on British soil and claimed the lives of 52 people, with 770 more injured.

Image caption The movements of Hasib Hussain, Mohammed Siddique Khan, Jermaine Lindsay and Shehzad Tanweer on the day of the attacks

Mr Poborko was working as an architectural stonemason at the time, but was forced to stop work after he began showing symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), including balance and mobility problems.

In the years that followed, he suffered anxiety and depression.

He was diagnosed with MS in 2012 at Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital, and believes the condition was brought on as a result of the trauma he suffered through being involved in the bombings.

However experts say there is no evidence of stress or trauma causing the development of MS but that stress and trauma can trigger or worsen symptoms of the condition.

Mr Poborko's condition means he now uses a wheelchair and his fiancee Louise Britt is also his primary carer.

Ten years after the attack, he applied for compensation from the CICA - a government body which compensates people who suffer physical or mental injuries arising from violent crime.

But he is still awaiting a decision.

Mr Poborko has criticised the length of time taken to determine his case - including delays caused by his medical records being misnamed on CICA's system.

CICA said it deals with all applications "as quickly and sensitively as possible".

Recent figures show in 2015-2016, CICA took an average of more than 11 months to reach a first decision on cases - slightly longer than in the previous year.

CICA said the increase "reflects the changing nature of our caseload".

Mr Poborko said he hoped to gain compensation as some "recognition" of what he has been through, and to improve his quality of life by enabling him to buy his home, instead of renting.

"I want it sorted - it's ridiculous," he said. "All I was doing was running late for work, and I got blown up.

"I just want to get on with my life, with Louise, in our home."

Mr Poborko's solicitor, Glyn Maddocks, said although the compensation claim was outside the two-year limit stipulated, CICA had discretion to consider the case.

"He's entitled to compensation - he was a victim of a crime which was the terrorist outrage on 7 July.

"He witnessed it, the experiences that he had and what he saw on that day are horrific and life-changing, and he's entitled to receive compensation from the public body because of that."

A CICA spokesperson said it could not comment on individual cases, adding: "We express our sympathy to all victims of crime and are committed to resolving applications as quickly and sensitively as possible."

MS is a condition which affects the brain and/or spinal cord, and symptoms can include problems with vision, limb movement, sensation and balance.

It is estimated there are more than 100,000 people diagnosed with MS in the UK.

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