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£500,000 for cut fingers

PUBLISHED: 18:04 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:35 23 August 2010

A VEHICLE technician has been awarded £400,000 in damages after cutting on his fingers on a knife left in a Me tropolitan Police squad car. Alexander Darg of Fern Down, Vigo Village, Meopham, was checking an airbag fault in a police car at Limehouse Pol

A VEHICLE technician has been awarded £400,000 in damages after cutting on his fingers on a knife left in a Me tropolitan Police squad car.

Alexander Darg of Fern Down, Vigo Village, Meopham, was checking an airbag fault in a police car at Limehouse Police Station, London, in September 2002 when he cut his fingers on a knife wedged between the front seats, London's High Court heard on Tuesday.

Following the incident the father-of-two said he lived in fear of contracting HIV and suffered from Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) leaving him unfit for work ever since.

The Met accused the family man of 'wanting to be a millionaire' and seeking 'a quick bit of cash'. In court Met lawyers accused Darg of 'spicing up' his disabilities and attacked his claims for damages as 'essentially false' arguing he was only due compensation for superficial cuts to his fingers which quickly healed.

They filmed covert DVDs of Mr Darg walking his children to and from school, shopping in a DIY store and shooting his air rifle in a competition.

However, judge Sir Robert Nelson said the DVDs were 'a matter of impression', and told the court: "A number of the attacks on Mr Darg's credibility were without substance."

Whilst accepting Mr Darg's disabilities had, to some extent, been exaggerated, the judge ruled that neither he, nor his wife, had been 'wholly dishonest' and had never 'falsely pretended to have symptoms which do not exist' and was stricken by a 'genuine disability' with unpredictable symptoms which can 'flare up at any time'. He ordered the Met to pay £400,000 in damages as well as the legal costs of the High Court, £100,000 of which they must pay immediately.

After the incident Mr Darg had to undergo an HIV test, which proved negative, and take precautions against Hepatitis B, his wedding ring had to be cut off and his wounds were stitched up.

Richard Lynagh QC, for Mr Darg, argued successfully that it was as a result of his cut fingers that he developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and CRPS after an unsuccessful operation in 2003.

Speaking on his doorstep Mr Darg said: "I just want to put all this behind me and get on with my life."

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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