Sorry, Assistant Doncaster Coroner Mark Beresford, but I don’t believe a word of it.
Recording a narrative verdict on the death of Frances McCormack, who had been threatened with the Bedroom Tax-related eviction from her house after her son’s suicide, Mr Beresford said she may have been trying to gain leverage over her local council with a “staged arrangement” that went wrong.
It seems he thinks this is why she was found hanged in the same spot her son took his life, with a handwritten note in her bedroom confessing that the Bedroom Tax was causing her enormous hardship.
This seems utter nonsense.
Rather than making up a story, why not look at the evidence?
This is a woman who had been pestered to pay the Bedroom Tax for two years, by the time of her death.
She had clearly reached a point of desperation – as the note in the bedroom suggests. Anyone appealing to David Cameron for mercy is clearly in dire straits indeed.
But the note was not delivered. Instead, Frances McCormack was found hanged in the same spot as her son. Perhaps this was the most secure point in the house from which a person dedicated to such a deed might commit it? Or, more simply, perhaps she chose that spot because she knew she would be successful?
The eviction notice arrived the same day her body was discovered.
This was no “staged arrangement” gone wrong.
It was the final act of a woman who had realised that nothing she could say or do could possibly stop the council from removing her from her home – because its hands had been tied by the Conservative Government.
In failing to acknowledge that this was even a possibility, Mr Beresford has brought the Coroner Service further into disrepute; previous verdicts related to sickness benefit claimants have also harmed its reputation.
How can we get justice for these people when their deaths are so badly misinterpreted?
And why are coroners making such questionable judgements?
A mother threatened with eviction from the house where her son took his own life was found hanged in the same spot, an inquest heard.
Frances McCormack, aged 53, had been badgered for Bedroom Tax after the death of her 16 year old son Jack Allen in 2013, the coroner heard.
The eviction notice arrived at her home the same day Ms McCormack’s body was discovered on August 10 last year.
A handwritten note was found in her bedroom, part of which was addressed to David Cameron on the hardship the Bedroom Tax was causing.
It was dated 10 days earlier and made no mention of the eviction notice, the inquest heard.
Assistant Doncaster coroner, Mark Beresford, recorded a narrative verdict saying she may have been trying to gain leverage over the council with a “staged arrangement” which went tragically awry.
He said: “The method was strikingly similar to that in which Jack ended his life, by which a powerful message could be sent, possibly to the authority dealing with her eviction, providing Ms McCormack with persuasive ammunition.
“The question of whether she intended to take her own life remains unclear.”
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