Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jun 3, 2013 20:16:25 GMT
Peter Williams Killed Himself After Battling Missed Council Tax Payments
An engineer left notes for friends and family telling them he was going to take his own life after years of battling with his local council over non-payment of council tax, an inquest has heard.
Peter Williams, 63, was found dead at Biggleswade train station in February last year after he was hit by a train.
Police found two letters at his home in Jubilee Lane, Langford, in which he said he intended to die after officers were called to the property "following concerns from friends that he was about to harm himself because he was about to be evicted", an inquest has heard.
At the inquest into his death at Bedford Coroner's Court, deputy coroner Martin Oldham was read a statement from a former employee of Central Bedfordshire Council that said Mr Williams owed more than £8,500 in council tax arrears at the time of his death.
The statement, from James Tomlin, who was a member of the council's revenue and benefits team, said he had had dealings with Mr Williams over non-payment of his council tax since the mid-1990s.
Mr Tomlin said Mr Williams, who had worked with SAVortex, was made bankrupt after around 10 years of being in arrears.
The council was told by a GP in around 2010 that Mr Williams had been suffering from depression and he had been advised to contact social services, but no further mention was made of it until after his death.
Mr Williams did inform the council that he had diabetes and subsequent ill health but failed to fill in any forms to see if he were eligible to claim council tax benefit, or single person's allowance, or disability or unemployment benefits, the inquest heard.
He also did not attend many court hearings that were to deal with his council tax debt, nor did he respond often to communication relating to bankruptcy petitions or his eviction.
Mike O'Brien QC, acting on behalf of Mr Williams's family, said he would raise various issues with Mr Tomlin's statement once it had been read to the court, which he described as "contentious".
One of the problems, he said, was that much of Mr Tomlin's statement dealt with opinion and not fact, and because Mr Tomlin has since died he is not able to be cross-examined at the inquest.
Mr Tomlin said in his statement that he had met Mr Williams at his home to deliver paperwork and discuss his situation and had no concerns about his mental health.
The inquest heard how a report from bailiffs who attended Mr Williams's home described him as a "strange individual" and said they had "grave reservations about his mental stability".
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jun 12, 2013 8:38:21 GMT
How much more evidence does government need to show these assessments are dangerous?
Compelling video on the Linda Wooton case & George Rolph hunger strike.
The DWP's response is well worth listening to in respect of Linda's Wooton's death. Whilst expressing sympathy they go on to say the assessment is a 'thorough' process where all the available evidence is collected from the claimant's doctor in order for the case to be properly reviewed.
Neither is true.
These assessments are anything but thorough, they are often rushed and timed as taking little more than 20 minutes. It is also wrong to say evidence is collected from the claimant's doctor before the assessment. This is certainly not the case when anyone is converted from the older incapacity benefits on to the Employment & Support Allowance, in these cases the regulations make no provision for collecting medical evidence before the assessment - it only becomes a statutory requirement in such cases if the claimant has to appeal against an assessment. It is only upon lodging an appeal that the DWP ask for the evidence as a matter of law. I've spent months arguing the point with Tribunal judges and whilst it was acknowledged in court I have yet to see the written judgement. The DWP do not appear to know the deficiencies in their own regulations.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jun 18, 2013 23:13:24 GMT
Witnesses tell of their shock after woman plunges to her death from car park roof
An onlooker told the Birmingham Mail the woman was “very stressed” and , seconds before the fall, was shouting about the government, her house and child support
18th June 2013
An eyewitness has spoken of the moment a woman plunged to her death from the fifth floor of a city centre car park. An onlooker told the Birmingham Mail the woman was “very stressed” and , seconds before the fall, was shouting about the government, her house and child support
The onlooker told the Birmingham Mail the woman was “very stressed” and , seconds before the fall, was shouting about the government, her house and child support.
Around 100 people – including children – watched in shock as she fell from the 100ft high NCP car park, on Albert Street, at around noon yesterday.
The 33-year-old witness – a family support worker from Walsall – described the victim as middle-aged.
“No one knows why she did it. It’s horrid, it’s terrible,” said the woman, who has asked not to be named.
“She just threatened to jump off, but then she did.
“She was just saying she had had enough of government changes. She was saying something about her house.
“She seemed very stressed.
“I don’t know how long she was there, a lot of people were saying she’d been there over an hour.
“Obviously this woman has got children as well.”
The witness added she heard the victim talking about child support.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said the emergency call came through at 12.05pm. “We were called to Albert Street in the city centre after a woman fell from the fifth floor of the multi-storey car park.
“The incident is not being treated as suspicious.”
John Domokas and Patrick Butler The Guardian, Wednesday 20 June 2012 12.31 BST
Jobcentre executives have warned staff of the risk of benefit claimants attempting suicide as controversial changes to sickness benefits are being pushed through.
The warning, contained in an internal email sent to staff by three senior managers of the government-run jobcentres, warns staff that ill-handling of benefit changes for vulnerable claimants could have "profound results" and highlights the case of one suicide attempt this year.
It emphasises the need for the "utmost care and sensitivity" when dealing with customers, as a result of "difficult changes which some of our more vulnerable customers may take some time to accept and adjust to".
The email, adds: "Very sadly, only last week a customer of DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] attempted suicide" – which it adds is "said to be the result of receiving a letter" informing him that his sickness benefit would be cut off.
The memo will crystallise concerns among charities, campaigners and medical professionals over the impact of welfare reforms on the mental health of some of Britain's most vulnerable people.
Neil Coyle of the charity Disability Rights UK, said: "The government is cutting direct support for thousands of disabled people and using a process to do so which is unfit for purpose. The assessment process for out of work benefits needs urgent improvement to ensure genuine needs are identified properly and to avoid further tragic consequences.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 4, 2013 7:47:24 GMT
Thursday 16th June 2013
Teacher suicide rate rises by 80 per cent
The number of teachers committing suicide in Britain each year has almost doubled, Channel 4 News learns, with educators saying they are failing to cope with the stresses of the job.
Teachers are blaming the stresses of rigorous classroom inspections, Government targets, "unmanageable" amounts of paperwork and 50-hour-plus working weeks for the increasing suicide rate and a sharp rise in serious mental health problems among school staff.
According to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 63 Primary and Secondary teachers took their lives in 2009 compared to 35 in 2008; a spike of 80 per cent.
Instances of suicide are now 30-40 per cent higher for teachers than the national average.
And it is older members of the profession - those in the twilight of their careers - who are increasingly representing the majority of those committing suicide: 50 to 64-year-olds account for 65 per cent of the total.
John Illingworth, former president of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and campaigner for mental health in teachers, told Channel 4 News thatthe growing trend of older teachers committing suicide could be linked to another trend of younger teachers walking away from the job when they begin to find their workloads unmanageable.
I have actually contemplated suicide as a way out because the situation is making me miserable. I cannot carry on like this for much longerTeacher
"Usually people who commit suicide are already suffering a seriously depressed condition," he said.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jul 15, 2013 17:42:52 GMT
Dartmoor Haytor deaths: Care probe launched
Sarah Ransome reports from outside the family home in Paignton, where neighbours say they are ''devastated'' by the events
An investigation has started into whether authorities could have done more to support a family after a mother, 24, died after falling 80-100ft (24-30m) from a Dartmoor tor.
13th July 2013
Katherine Hooper and eldest son Joshua, five, died after falling at Haytor.
The body of Ms Hooper's two-year-old son Samuel was later found at her home in Dukes Close, Paignton.
Police have launched a murder investigation, but said they were not looking for anyone else.
Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed the family had been the subject of a Safeguarding Partnership intervention and a serious case review would be launched.
The Safeguarding Partnership, an alliance including the council, NHS and the police, is alerted when a person may be in need of community care services because of mental illness or abuse.
Serious case reviews are launched when a child dies or is seriously harmed and there are signs of abuse or neglect.
Devon and Cornwall Police said: "Police investigating the tragic deaths of Katherine Hooper and her two sons Josh Patterson and Sam Patterson have confirmed that the family were subject of Safeguarding Partnership Intervention prior to their untimely deaths.
No-one can believe it and everybody is devastated, so devastated”
"The investigation will now be referred to a Serious Case Review process as per national good practice."
Ms Hooper was the subject of a police search earlier in the year after she went missing with her two children in April.
The Dartmoor Rescue Group joined the search before she was found "safe and well" 24 hours later in Paignton.
On Friday, Ms Hooper's estranged partner Neil Patterson, 52, said he was "devastated" that the "three most important and cherished people in my life had been taken from me".