England: Woman convicted for slip-and-trip fraud in first-of-its-kind private prosecution
A woman has been convicted of fraud in what is believed to be the first private prosecution in the UK by an insurance company against a so-called “slip-and-trip” fraudster.
Former law student Farida Ashraf, 41, was given a 21-month suspended sentence in Bradford Crown Court yesterday after pretending to trip over a crate of orange juice cartons in a supermarket and claiming for injuries.
The deliberate and premeditated plan, which involved at least two other women, was aimed at obtaining money from a supermarket in Bradford.
The case was taken by Aviva after Mrs Ashraf’s original claim was thrown out of court in 2016, when CCTV footage revealed two female accomplices placing a pallet of orange juice cartons on the floor of Al-Halal supermarket in Bradford so that she could pretend to stumble over it.
Mrs Ashraf then, eight months later, sent a letter to the supermarket claiming for injuries that would have cost Aviva up to £60,000.
Aviva, representing the supermarket, took out a private prosecution on the basis of fraud by misrepresentation. Global law firm Clyde & Co was hired to act for the insurer.
Damian Rourke, partner in Clyde & Co’s London office, said: “Figures clearly show a significant increase in so-called slip-and-trip fraud. It’s important that businesses and the public know that insurers like Aviva will take proactive steps to deter and punish criminals who harm businesses and ultimately can cost staff their jobs.
“There a perception that nobody is doing anything about fraud – and I think it’s important that business know that insurers like Aviva are standing up for them.”
Richard Hiscocks, Aviva’s director of casualty claims, added: “This staged accident is a clear example of a fraudster trying to claim some easy cash – and she now has a criminal conviction to show for it. Aviva takes a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and we’ll do everything we can to defend our customers against such claims.”