Footballer jailed for £1.3m fraud

James Shikell playing football. He had claimed �1,5 million compensation for 'injuries' in a car crash.
James Shikell playing football. He had claimed �1,5 million compensation for 'injuries' in a car crash.
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THIS is the picture of a former semi-professional footballer which landed him in jail after trying to make a £1.3 million insurance claim for injuries.

James Shikell, aged 31, from Balby, was a passenger in a car driven by an uninsured driver which hit a lamppost on Broomhouse Lane, Balby, in December 2002.

Shikell, who sustained orthopaedic injuries and a possible head injury, submitted a claim against the Motor Insurance Bureau on the basis he suffered from extreme fatigue, physical restrictions and reduced levels of concentration which prevented him from playing football as he had in the past.

He was once a player for Yorkshire Main in the Central Midlands League.

But an investigation led to him being filmed playing in what the court heard described as a ‘pub’ league for Edlington Rangers.

His High Court compensation claim included amounts for loss of earnings, care and accommodation.

Leeds Combined Court heard his injuries were not as severe as he claimed and he had resumed playing football regularly for Edlington Rangers – a team he captained.

The Motor Insurance Bureau became suspicious and an investigation revealed that Shikell had been playing football for some time and was an active member of Edlington Rangers.

Shikell and his father, Robert Shikell, also of Balby, who supported his son in the claim, were served in April 2009 with notice that the bureau was to bring contempt of court proceedings against them. Both were jailed for 12 months.

The sentence was imposed by Judge Penelope Belcher in Leeds Combined Court. She also ordered the Shikells to pay a contribution towards the organisation’s costs.

The court heard James Shikell suffered serious and potentially life-threatening injuries in the crash and as a result of serious neck injuries there was a risk of paralysis. But he told the court he made remarkable progress in the course of his convalescence.

Judge Belcher said: “I recognise that it was down to this young man’s grit and determination, together with the love and support of his family, that he made such a good recovery from his injuries and their effects upon him and that he is now largely able to lead a normal existence. That is very much to his credit.”

But she added that did not alter the fact that he was willing to lie for the purposes of the legal proceedings.

She said: “It is James Shikell’s case that his intention when he lied about his football activities was not deliberately to seek to increase the award of damages and he denies being motivated by greed.”

Motor Insurance Bureau chief executive Ashton West said: “This custodial sentence will be a deterrent to those who seek to defraud MIB and therefore every insured driver in Britain.”