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The late Julia Kelly

The late Julia Kelly

Conservative-led Coalition Government welfare policy has led to two more deaths, it has been revealed.

One concerns a man suffering from depression who was living in fear of eviction after his benefits were stopped (no reason was given in the news report), and the other involves a woman whose suicide was allegedly triggered by a DWP letter demanding repayment of £4,000 in disability benefit.

The Lancashire Telegraph reported that the body of 34-year-old father-of-three Benjamin Del McDonald, who suffered with depression, was found last November.

East Lancashire Coroner Richard Taylor said: “Something must have happened to make him behave the way he did, because He had so much more to live for, especially his relationship with his daughter.

“At the time, his money had been stopped, he had no form of income, and he said he was threatened with eviction from his home – all matters that can play one someone’s mind very much.

“The appropriate conclusion for me today is that while he was suffering from a significant bout of depression, he took his own life.”

The full report is in the Lancashire Telegraph.

In Northampton, 39-year-old Julia Kelly was found to have taken her own life, days after receiving a series of letters from the Department for Work and Pensions including one demanding that she repay £4,000 in Employment and Support Allowance payments.

She had faced three tribunals in a bid to keep her benefit, and her family “firmly believed” the stress caused by the DWP over her claim was what “triggered” her suicide.

A statement by her father, David Kelly, said: “We firmly believe the letter from the DWP was the trigger for her actions. Not to be believed by the DWP that she was suffering chronic back pain and also to be accused of wrongdoing and be told her payments might be stopped – we believe she snapped and could not take it anymore.”

Mr Kelly said his daughter had been forced to “fight for every penny” of disability benefit including attending three tribunal cases.

The DWP had claimed that Ms Kelly was not entitled to claim ESA as she had failed to declare capital funds.

Together with her father, she had set up a charity called Away With Pain, to help fellow sufferers of chronic back pain.

The Northampton Chronicle report states: “Ms Kelly, who previously worked for Northamptonshire Young Carers, had to give up work in 2010 due to a severe back injury that had grown progressively worse since a car crash, which wasn’t her fault, in 2005.

“In 2013, Ms Kelly was involved in another car crash which fractured the part of her spine that had been fused together. To repair this damge she needed a major operation lasting six hours.

“Talking to the Chron last February Ms Kelly said: ‘One person said “until it happens to you, you have no idea what is involved”. It stops your life in its tracks and that is it. Pain management is probably the most under-funded area of the NHS and yet this is something that doesn’t go away. People do get suicidal.

“’You actually go through the bereavement process; not losing a person but you have lost the old you. Your morals and everything are the same, but that girl who used to jump in her car or who was the wildest on the dance floor, that has all changed. You have to get your head around that and be realistic about your expectations.

“’In my head I was going to get better, then when it didn’t happen, it was like ‘oh God, now what happens?’ Some people don’t get to that mind-set, through no fault of their own, so many people fall through the net.'”

The full report is on the Northampton Chronicle.

A general election is approaching. If a Conservative-led government gains office again, ask yourself how many more people will die prematurely?

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