Cold weather is believed to have caused the death of a homeless man in a town centre car park this week, a friend of the man has revealed.
WHERE HOMELESS PEOPLE SLEEP, JOHN STREET CAR PARK, SWINDON</figcaption></figure>
The 50-year-old man’s body was discovered on the morning of Wednesday, 13 January, after a man, who is also sleeping on the streets, could not wake him.
Paramedics were called to the John Street Car Park, but he was dead on arrival.
A man who wanted to remain anonymous, and is also homeless, told Swindon 24 that his friend had been “quite ill in the days before he died” and that “it being colder recently” is likely to have “contributed towards his death”.
Have you got an old, spare sleeping bag hanging around? Maybe you’ve got a warm jacket you plan on taking to the charity shop. Instead – why not donate your warm items to Swindon 24’s Warm the Homeless Appeal. Find out more here.
Wiltshire Police say that the death is “not being treated as suspicious”.
A spokesperson said: “We were called by the ambulance service, at around 8.30am, on Wednesday, to reports of a man lying still in John Street Car Park, Swindon.
“The ambulance service confirmed the 50 year old man was dead at the scene.”
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jan 23, 2016 22:56:32 GMT
Kinver woman gets Government apology two years after disabled brother killed himself when his benefits were axed
By Bev Holder 21st January 2016
GOVERNMENT officials have finally apologised to a Kinver woman whose disabled brother killed himself after he was left "almost destitute" when his state benefits were axed.
Linda Cooksey has devoted the last two years to seeking out justice for her late brother Tim Salter who hanged himself just days before he was due to be evicted over rent arrears back in September 2013.
South Staffordshire's coroner Andrew Haigh ruled the sizeable reduction in Mr Salter's benefits had been a "major factor in his death" and he said the 53-year-old from Meddins Lane, who was partially sighted and suffered from mental health problems, had been left "almost destitute when threatened with repossession of his home".
After the News broke the story of Mr Salter's tragic demise - his case made national headlines, sparking much debate over whether he should ever have been declared fit for work under a new government regime aimed at getting the long-term unemployed off the dole.
South Staffordshire Housing Association said at the time that cuts to benefits had caused widespread distress but staff had worked hard to avoid property repossessions by offering support to those struggling with finances.
Similarly the DWP said it did its best to ensure support was provided to claimants deemed fit to work and that everyone had the right to appeal against its decisions which were only made after thorough assessments.
But Mrs Cooksey said her brother, who was agoraphobic, was unable to ask for help and had kept his problems to himself as he "didn't want to be a burden on anyone".
She believes after his benefits stopped he lived off his savings until the money ran out.
After his death, which came as a total shock to the family, Mrs Cooksey made it her mission to campaign for justice for her brother, who was registered partially blind as a result of a suicide attempt in 1989 which damaged his vision.
Sisters Linda Cooksey and Stella Salter
She sought help from the Citizens Advice Bureau and with support from the charity she complained about Mr Salter's assessment through the Department for Work and Pensions complaints system but no maladministration was found, so she then took her complaint to the Independent Case Examiner last April who upheld the findings of the DWP report.
However, Mrs Cooksey - who had found her brother's body hanging in the hallway - refused to accept the ruling and told the Ombudsman she believed the DWP should have looked at the potential long-term effects on Mr Salter's mental health after the stopping of his Employment and Support Allowance and the difficulties he would have faced seeking employment and travelling to work.Determined not to give up - she enlisted the support of South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson and the case was referred to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman but the Ombudsman's first draft report in September 2015 supported the findings of the DWP and the ICE.
In light of her response - the Ombudsman partially upheld the complaint about the Independent Case Examiner and recommended the DWP apologise to Mrs Cooksey for the error in administering Mr Salter's claim.
The ICE was also told to apologise for not recognising the DWP's review was insufficiently thorough to identify the error.
Mrs Cooksey, aged 62, of Chandler Avenue, has now finally received letters from both the DWP and the ICE and she told the News (on what would have been her brother's 56th birthday): "It would have been easy to give up but he'd been treated so badly. I had to carry for Tim.
"It's not just for Tim though, it's for other people as well. They kept saying they hadn't made any mistakes and it made me fight more. They've now changed the way they're assessing mental health cases.
"Without the CAB though I probably would have given up; they did help me a lot."
Cathy Barlow, bureau manager at South Staffordshire CAB, said: “Changes to welfare provision mean many people don’t know where to turn when they find themselves in urgent need of help with consequent financial difficulties
The CAB holds free, confidential open door sessions in Kinver every Tuesday from 10am to 1pm at Kinver Community Fire Station in Fairfield Drive, or people can call the Staffordshire Citizens Advice Line on 03444 111 444 or check out citizensadvice.citizensadvice.org.uk/sscab.htm."It is vital that people are given effective support to help them through the changes to prevent such tragic cases as Mr Salter’s happening again. We would urge anyone worried about how changes to their benefits will affect them to seek advice from their local CAB."