A MOTORIST who had the wheel of her van broken by a huge pothole has been denied council compensation even though it had already paid out to a similar victim.

The ball joint of Sue Cord's Renault Kangoo was snapped off when she hit a pothole in Epping Lane, Abridge, in February this year, and she filed for compensation with Essex County Council.

The council has now written back denying any responsibility for the damage to her van, but it had already agreed to pay out over £1,000 in a separate case to a man whose BMW was broken by the exact same pothole at an earlier time.

Robert Milliken, 58, of Lee Grove, Chigwell, said: “They started giving me all that saying it was my fault and I should have seen the hole. I said 'right' and I issued a small claims court claim against them.

“I know what they're like. They try and stall you and you give up and go away but I wasn't having any of that. They didn't have a leg to stand on.”

Despite initially denying responsibility for the damage to two tyres on Mr Milliken's car, the council admitted liability almost as soon as court action started on June 30 this year, and he received a cheque for £1,001 in the post nine days later.

Two months after admitting liability in Mr Milliken's case, it is still denying responsibility for the damage to the van of Mrs Cord, 53, of Ongar Road, Abridge.

She said: “They're saying they're accepting no responsibility or liability. They said they checked the road the day after my incident and it was OK which I can't believe.

“I've got 20-30 photos I've taken of that road of several pot holes and that was the worst one.

“I'm not happy and I'm going to take it further. I just can't see how they can say what their saying that there was nothing wrong with the road. The pothole was clearly there.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “All claims received by Essex County Council are investigated fully and costs are only paid if the council feels they are liable as highway authorities. The council is protected by legislation unless the authority is aware of the existence of a defect prior to the incident leading to such a claim. Essex County Council is audited by insurers to ensure that decisions that are being taken are correct.”