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Law firm Leigh Day are calling for a full and public investigation into the death of a 59-year-old ex-soldier who died in 2013 after he was ‘sanctioned’ by the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP).
David Clapson was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Signals serving in Belfast at the height of the troubles before leaving the army to work for BT. After working for the telecommunications firm for 16 years he became a carer for his elderly mother.
According to his sister Gill Thompson, David was a proud and private man who found asking for help very difficult. David also suffered Type 1 Diabetes and relied on regular insulin shots to survive.
In 2014 Ms Thompson started a petition with Change.org which gained over 200,000 signatures which helped to secure a Parliamentary Select Committee Inquiry in March 2015, which came up with 26 recommendations.
However, the Government rejected Gill’s calls for an Independent Review into David’s death and the deaths of others in similar circumstances and rejected the recommendation of the Select Committee that the number of peer reviews into deaths of persons subject to a sanction be made public.
The Government also refused to accept the recommendation of an independent body to conduct more reviews into the deaths of those in receipt of ‘working-age’ benefits Government response here.
Merry Varney from the law firm Leigh Day who is representing Ms Thompson in her fight for an inquest into her brother’s death, said:
“David had a made a significant contribution to the wider public good, working in the Forces at a difficult time and later providing personal care for his elderly mother. At the time he needed support, he was made destitute for failing to attend a meeting.
“Managing Type 1 Diabetes requires good nutrition and regular insulin injections. Rendering a person unable to afford food and/or unable to chill their insulin is likely to have fatal consequences. David’s death must be investigated to make sure safeguards are in place to protect others and to establish whether the DWP knowingly cut off David’s lifeline.”
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