Just had a meeting with a legal eagle – a barrister and the solicitor who has asked me to write the report. Martin was bereaved of his sister in a fairly awful accident which he witnessed. She was expected to survive but four days after the accident suddenly died. This was shocking for all concerned, but particularly so for the boy who was present and felt responsible. I have been involved with him since a couple of months after the accident and have been helpful in some respects, less so in others. Anyway, this meeting was to determine how the law should proceed in his claim for damages. The accident happened just after he had gone to Secondary School. Immediately afterwards, he suffered from extreme grief and shock. He seemed anxious to die himself, and was having all the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Martin was, in particular, having nightmares and flashbacks – the sudden re-living of the experience, without warning and with great vividness. His secondary career has not been great although he has been, by and large, well-behaved and caring at home, and reasonably well-behaved at school. However, his whole adolescence has been warped, limited, damaged – choose what word you will – by his ongoing PTSD. He still has nightmares and flashbacks, and, of course, his parents were also traumatised and unable to maybe give him the support they otherwise would have done. But the damages issue consists almost entirely of consideration of his loss of earnings. I believe he is less well qualified than he would have been had he been happier and I believe his self-esteem is lower than if he did not have a sneaking worry that he allowed his sister to be killed. With better qualifications and higher self-esteem, he might have been able to find a job he really enjoyed and earn more money than now seems likely. Of course, it is equally possible that he would have become a naughty boy and got into trouble; we can’t know. But to suggest that the big loss is loss of potential earnings, rather than the loss of an adolescence shared with his sister and with parents who were not themselves in mourning, is a travesty of real values. This was apparently a professional crime executed by people who had thought it out (really???) And the police are treating it ‘like a murder case’, presumably because of the vast amounts of money involved. The law says that Money is more important than Feelings and bereavement. Sad, isn’t it!