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.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.