Woman with broken back saved from burning Finsbury home by hero dogs still waiting for compensation two years later
PUBLISHED: 06:41 23 October 2014
A disabled woman who was saved from a burning building by her hero dogs is still waiting for compensation more than two years after she lost everything.
Lisa Mitchell-Smith, 63, was living in Ashby Street, Finsbury when her carer torched her home in an arson attack in 2012 – the pensioner is only alive because her dogs woke her and tried to drag her to safety.
She managed to escape wearing nothing but her pyjamas, and clasping her dead husband’s war medals, but nothing else and hasn’t been able to replace anything on her meagre pension.
Mrs Mitchell-Smith, who suffers from a broken back and Addison’s disease, which can cause fainting, said: “It’s disgusting.
“I lost everything in that fire, I have nothing left, and I haven’t had a penny to replace it.
“All the memories of my husband are gone – all of his belongings apart from his medals.
“The only clothes I have are ones my neighbours have lent me. It was Jewish new year recently, but I didn’t feel I could go to the synagogue because I had nothing to wear. It’s awful.”
Mrs Mitchell-Smith’s troubles began when a man who was paid to be her carer set fire to her home in January 2012.
The arsonist – who had a record of starting fires – was convicted, but Mrs Mitchell-Smith has not recovered from the experience.
“I have to take a lot of morphine for my back pain,” she said. “I was out for the count on the sofa.”
“My dogs Tootise and Molly, who are medical dogs given to me because of my Addison’s, saved my life.
“Molly was barking in my ear and Tootsie was trying to drag me out by my trouser leg. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here. But I still don’t like going out. I still don’t trust anyone.”
A spokesman for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), said: “We sympathise with all victims of crime but we do not discuss individual claims publicly.
“We work to finalise all cases as soon as possible.
“We review progress regularly and work with police forces, medical authorities and others to get the information we need to give victims of violent crime the compensation they deserve.”