UPDATE 12.34pm, August 12: The Coroner’s Officer for Birmingham and Solihull has just reported that the inquest took place THIS MORNING. Vox Political is currently trying to get details of what was said.
An inquest into the death of a grandmother who was hit by a lorry on a motorway after reportedly leaving a note blaming the Government is to take place soon – more than a year after the collision.
Stephanie Bottrill, 53, of Solihull, West Midlands, died in the early hours of May 4 last year, after the accident on the M6, just a short walk from her home.
Her family was reported as saying she had left a note describing how she could no longer afford £20 a week extra after the Bedroom Tax – sometimes called the State Under-Occupation Charge – was applied to her terraced home.
Just days before dying, Miss Bottrill told neighbours in Meriden Drive she could barely afford to live while others spoke of having to take meals round because they were worried she was not eating.
It was later revealed that Mrs Bottrill was exempt from the Bedroom Tax as she had been occupying the same property since before January 1996.
The inquest is due to be held at Birmingham Coroner’s Court.
Vox Political has covered this affair in detail in the past.
The blog has also worked hard to ensure the public does not forget what happened.
In January this year, VP wrote:
She had lived in the same Solihull house for the previous 18 years (since 1995). Recent revelations by Joe Halewood at SPeye have shown that this meant she was exempt from paying the charge under the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006.
The government has a duty of care in these matters. It may not impose charges on people who are exempt under legislation that is currently in force, nor may it demand that local authorities should do so. If a person dies as a result of such action, then the government is guilty of a very specific criminal offence.
According to the Crown Prosecution Service, an organisation is guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death; and amounts to a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed by the organisation to the deceased.
An organisation is guilty of an offence if the way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management is a substantial element in the breach.
It seems clear – from the suicide note at the very least – that this is an open-and-shut case.
We’ll find out soon.
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