A MUM has shared her heartache after her son was sent a letter from a debt company demanding payment for over AU$1,000 following a vicious attack which left him with life-changing injuries.
Nicola Hodgson had her whole world turned upside down when her son Danny was set upon in a brutal one-punch attack whilst in Perth, Australia in 2021.
Danny, 27, was left with no feeling in his left arm and hand after spending over six months in hospital following the attack which left him unconcious, and now requires round-the-clock care.
However despite Danny not calling the ambulance or being conscious when it arrived he is now being chased by debt collectors Baycorp on behalf of St John’s Ambulance.
Mum Nicola from Egremont, Cumbria now says her faith in humanity has been broken as she says the justice system has failed and the attacker should foot the bill for the ambulance.
The 46-year-old was given the initial letter for the ambulance bill whilst Danny was on life support last year but the family managed to defer it for a further year.
Construction safety advisor Nicola claims that Danny has tried to fight the payment but says that their appeals have not been listened to.
As Danny is viewed as a permanent resident and not a citizen of Australia, the family allege he is entitled to nothing.
The pressure that the months following the attack put on the family led to Nicola and her husband Peter separating.
The family now live on two separate continents thousands of miles apart as it was decided that Nicola would return to England with the two younger children and Peter stay in Australia with Danny.
It cost the family £12,000 to see each other at Christmas and they are resigned to the fact they cannot afford that multiple times a year.
The mum-of-three now worries that the further stress of this could lead to her former footballing son having another seizure having already suffered two.
Speaking today, Nicola said: “I think the fact he has got this letter is disgusting.
“Victims should be helped, not punished for other people’s crimes.
“My son wouldn’t have needed an ambulance, he was going home and was attacked unprovoked by a lad who has previous charges.
“Victims get no help and are just left to deal with the aftermath then you get bills like these and it breaks your faith in humanity.
“We are not a family anymore because of this animal, it has literally broken our family apart – a 30-year marriage and family broken.
“No marriage or family in the world can keep that going [across the world], we are all devastated and we never know when we will get to see each other again as a family.
“Baycorp is saying that as Danny used the ambulance he is liable for the bill, even though he didn’t call it – it was called by police at the scene as Danny was dead requiring CPR.
“He [Danny] gets no support from anyone as he wasn’t a citizen only a permanent resident, this has ruined his life and they are still waiting for him to pay for an ambulance that should never have been needed.”
Speaking today, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said: “Payments for injury and loss under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme include ambulance bills which can be paid directly to the service provider or reimbursed to a victim who has paid the account where the maximum has not already been paid to the victim.
“The Commissioner for Victims of Crime is commencing discussions with St John Ambulance with regards to improving services for victims of crime.”
The maximum payment for victims of a crime in Australia is AU$100,000.
Last March, a 17-year-old Australian teen was jailed for three years and eight months over the attack that has destroyed Danny and the family’s life.
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