A cyclist who sued a local authority for £140,000 after claiming it was responsible for injuries he claimed to have sustained after falling from his bike was exposed by social media posts that showed him taking part in events such as a Tough Mudder race.
Other social media posts showed Gary Lucking taking part in weightlifting, rowing and a charity bike ride to Blackpool, despite the 44-year-old from Crewe claiming to have suffered a serious fracture and long-term elbow injury after crashing his bike in January 2014.
Lucking said that his injuries, which he asserted happened when he hit an exposed manhole in Middlewich in January 2014, meant he had to sell his bike and stop cycling, reports the Stoke Sentinel.
The amount of his claim against Cheshire East Council had already been reduced at an earlier hearing to £20,000 after a challenge from its lawyers, but a judge has now thrown the case out of court.
Besides the social media posts that showed Lucking was still leading an active lifestyle – something that Deputy District Judge Peter Causton said left his credibility “shot to pieces” – two work colleagues who helped him after his crash said in evidence that he had fallen off his bike when attempting to mount a kerb.
Ordering Lucking to pay the council’s costs, which have yet to be assessed, the judge described his claim as “implausible and inconsistent.”
Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Don Stockton, commented: “This was a blatant attempt to defraud the council and the borough’s taxpayers with a bogus claim for an accident that was in no way connected with the authority or any defect in the road.”
He added: "We, like all local authorities, are required to protect public funds and this sends out the message that we will challenge claims that we feel are fraudulent."
In June this year, we reported on another case relating to a six-figure claim against a local authority for personal injury supposedly sustained as a result of a road defect that a council had failed to fix.
Cardiff City Council brought in the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department to investigate the case, resulting in the claimant, Luboya Tshibangu, being handed a three-and-a-half year jail sentence.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.