British Airways to be sued over claims its pilot sexually abused children in Africa

British Airways is to be sued for damages by 16 alleged victims, some of whom are still aged just eight.

Lawyers representing the young girls and women who claim the pilot assaulted them said the airline bears responsibility because he carried out the alleged attacks while on stopovers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

The alleged period of abuse was from 2003 to 2013, when the girls were aged five to 13, law firm
Leigh Day said.

Lawyer Nichola Marshall, from Leigh Day, said: 'We allege that Wood was able to abuse the victims, by reason of his employment with the airline, in particular through his involvement with the airlines’ community relations work.
'The schools and orphanages that our clients attended were all in receipt of charitable donations from the airline, and Wood played a key role in administering those donations, on behalf of British Airways.

'Our team will be travelling overseas over the coming weeks to meet with other potential victims in Nairobi and Uganda that have come forward more recently.'

A British Airways spokesman said:

'We were shocked and horrified to hear the allegations against Simon Wood, which appear to relate to his involvement in child-related activities entirely outside the scope of his employment with British Airways.

'Our sympathies are with the victims and it is disappointing that the conduct of one person has caused so much distress to the many thousands of decent people who engage in charitable works on a regular basis.'

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Wood was first arrested over an indecent assault allegation in November 2001 but prosecutors ruled there was insufficient evidence to charge him.

It reconsidered the case in July last year after receiving new details of similar alleged offences committed overseas and apparent evidence of indecent images.

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