Sisters call for law change after £1.3m payout man from Thornton Heath died penniless

Croydon Guardian: Vincenzo Bollito was awarded £1.3m in compensation Vincenzo Bollito was awarded £1.3m in compensation

The sisters of a man who was awarded £1.3m in compensation after suffering severe head injuries when he fell from a night bus are calling for a change in the law after he died penniless.

Vincenzo Bollito of Burlington Road, Thornton Heath, was awarded a £1.3m lump sum plus annual payments of £31,500 for life to cover the cost of his care after the accident in July 2005.

The dad-of-one was standing between bus doors near the West End’s Haymarket Theatre, when the driver closed the doors on him and drove off, causing the graphic designer to fall into the road.

Last week a narrative verdict was recorded at an inquest that heard Mr Bollito, who had to learn to walk again and was left partially sighted, was found dead aged 39 at home on August 28, last year.

A pathologist gave the cause of death as sudden adult death – noting his previous head injury, which also affected his memory and intellect.

Speaking after the hearing his sisters Anna and Ida Bollito said their brother did not receive the care he was entitled to prior to his death after his wife, who pursued the case on Mr Bollito’s behalf and was made the sole trustee of the compensation, moved back to Italy in 2010.

The sisters allege their brother was transferred a monthly allowance that was sometimes under £500.

They say the law should be changed so either two people are appointed court deputies responsible for the sum or the court should monitor how the money is being spent to benefit the person it was awarded to.

Anna said: “The money wasn’t spent in the right way for our brother. If there was more control from the court or two people were in charge, more would have been spent on his care and needs.

“We didn’t want any of the money we just wanted it to be spent correctly. We wrote to the Court of Protection to say his wife had left the country and they never answered us.”

Ida added: “We feel the courts should have been looking at how the money was being spent to benefit Enzo. They said the money needed to be spent on him either for therapy and rehabilitation courses to improve his walking, or for medical and general care and not enough of it was.”

Croydon North MP Steve Reed said he understood the sisters concerns and said he would look to raise the issue in Parliament.

He said: “Their principle is right. If a court orders money to be paid to help after someone has an accident they should ensure that is what the money is spent on.

“Either two deputies or trustees should be appointed or the fund should be held by the court and only released for certain purposes.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice, responsible for the Court of Protection, said: "We take a zero tolerance approach to any deputy or attorney who is not carrying out the duty for which they were appointed.

"Deputies are required to lodge reports with the Office of the Public Guardian who will investigate further if anything of concern is identified.

"We supervise all deputies to ensure they act responsibly on behalf of vulnerable people and if there is evidence of abuse we bring the issue to the Court of Protection or other relevant agency immediately for further action to be taken.

"We cannot comment on individual cases.”

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