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Custody officer Barbara-Ann Ennis wins compensation after HIV patient bite

Corporal Barbara Ennis
Corporal Barbara Ennis

by James Scott


A custody officer bitten by an HIV positive asylum seeker has been awarded more than £100,000 in compensation.

Barbara-Ann Ennis, 40, from Ashford, was permanently scarred after being bitten on the face by the detainee in an unprovoked attack at Gatwick Airport in 2006.

The army veteran, who has been decorated for service in Bosnia and Iraq, had to wait six months before doctors could tell her she did not have HIV. The incident left her traumatised and needing three operations to her face.

Ms Ennis, who served in Iraq as part of the 7th Armoured Brigade battle group, said: "Since the attack, my life's been like a living nightmare I can't wake up from.

"The trauma of thinking that - through no fault of my own -“ I'd been infected by a truly dreadful and life-changing disease, having to take treatment with awful side effects and enduring a six-month wait to find out my fate has been torturous.

"I want to compel employers to take every step possible to protect workers so what happened to me can never happen to anyone ever again."

Her lawyers Irwin Mitchell LLP demanded her former employer G4S Ltd provide reassurances to better protect staff in the future after it emerged the same detainee had bitten another officer just days before.

Her attacker Sylvia Fileingoshisho was jailed for three years for the incident and then deported.

"barbara-ann can now look forward to a much brighter future." - natasha lewis

Ms Ennis, who has been treated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, was forced to leave the job she loved in December 2007 because her employer could not accommodate her during her recovery.

She is also unable to actively participate in the Territorial Army so her dream of becoming a sergeant is over.

However Irwin Mitchell spokesman Natasha Lewis said the compensation would help Ms Ennis rebuild her life.

She said: "Barbara-Ann can now look forward to a much brighter future. Her damages will enable her to continue to receive the support she requires and will provide her with some financial security, as her ability to work in the future is compromised.

"Whilst she is pleased that her battle for justice has now been won, and that she finally has access to the funds she needs to start rebuilding her life, no amount of money will ever truly compensate her for what she has been through."

G4S said the safety of employees was paramount to their operations and recommendations following the investigation had been adopted.

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