UK & World News

  • 21 March 2014, 18:44

Chimp Attack Victim Attempts To Sue For £90m

A woman mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009 has made a plea to Connecticut legislators, hoping she will be allowed to sue the state for $150m (£90m) in damages.

Charla Nash, 60, appeared before a General Assembly committee on Friday, saying the money could help her pay medical bills and give her a chance at a comfortable life.

Ms Nash, who was blinded and lost both hands in the brutal attack in Stamford, argued that officials knew the animal was dangerous but declined to act.

She said: "The state knew what was happening and failed to protect me."

Ms Nash's initial request for permission to sue the state was rejected in June.

But the committee is now considering a bill that would override the original decision.

The chimpanzee, which belonged to a friend, went berserk after Ms Nash attempted to coax him back inside the enclosure he had broken out of.

She has since undergone a face transplant, and is currently awaiting a second attempt at a hand transplant.

On Friday, Connecticut's Attorney General urged lawmakers not to allow Ms Nash to sue the state.

George Jespen said: "I am not here to diminish Ms Nash's suffering. The law does not support this claim."

Ms Nash's lawyers argue that a state law gave the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection "unequivocal authority" to seize the chimpanzee on safety grounds.

They say the chimp's "existence threatened public health and safety".

The state generally is immune from lawsuits, unless allowed by the claims commissioner.

Ms Nash has already reached a settlement with the estate of the chimp's owner, Sandra Herold, who died in 2010.