New evidence fuels demand for inquest uncovering DWP role in the death of Jodey Whiting

Jodey Whiting, 42, took her own life after her benefits were stopped.

Remember Jodey Whiting?

She’s the woman who took her own life after the Department for Work and Pensions ignored its own policies for safeguarding benefit claimants no fewer than five times while dealing with her case.

The DWP scorned calls for an independent inquiry into deaths related to its decisions, prompted by Ms Whiting’s death – even after tens of thousands of people signed a petition demanding it.

Now her mother, Joy Dove, has launched a demand for a new inquest, saying the interests of justice demand it after new evidence emerged.

This includes the result of an investigation into the handling of Ms Whiting’s benefits by the DWP and a report from an independent consultant psychiatrist who concluded that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on her mental state.

In her letter to the Attorney General, Ms Dove argued that the manner in which her daughter was treated by the DWP, and in particular the withdrawal of her ESA, caused or materially contributed to her death and, that had this not occurred, her daughter’s death might have been prevented.

Ms Whiting, of Stockton, died on 21 February 2017, aged 42. She was a vulnerable woman with multiple physical and mental health illnesses which left her house-bound, requiring 23 tablets per day and entirely reliant on welfare benefits.

In late 2016 the DWP began to reassess her entitlement to Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

She requested a home visit as she rarely left the house due to her health and she made clear that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

Despite this, the DWP decided that she should attend a work capability assessment. She failed to attend so the DWP stopped her fortnightly ESA payments.

With help from her family, Ms Whiting wrote to the DWP explaining the severity of her health conditions and asking for a reconsideration, but this did not happen until after her death.

She also received letters informing her that her housing benefit and council tax benefit would be stopped because they were linked to her ESA.

Just three days after her last ESA payment, Ms Whiting took her own life.

An inquest was held, lasting less than an hour, in which the coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP in the death. Ms Whiting’s family were unrepresented and were unaware that they may have been entitled to publicly-funded legal representation.

After the inquest a report by an Independent Case Examiner concluded that the DWP had made multiple significant errors in how it treated Ms Whiting. Some of the failings had not been known to her family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of her benefits.

This could be a hugely important case.

Who knows how many other people are now dead who might have lived if the DWP had handled their cases with an ounce of sensitivity?

We may soon find out – but only if the Attorney General grants permission for a new inquest to take place.

Source: Family Of Jodey Whiting Seek Fresh Inquest Into Her Death | Leigh Day

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5 thoughts on “New evidence fuels demand for inquest uncovering DWP role in the death of Jodey Whiting

  1. Justin

    This should be a criminal matter to be honest, how many more times have they made mistakes, I assisted in a case that never got to tribunal due to the dwp backing of big style, they had a person with dementia assessed, they deemed the person was fit to cook despite the fact that there was a lock on the cooker to prevent use as they had cooked once and forgot about it, resulting in the fire brigade being called to put the fire in the kitchen out, they stated the person was okay to go out unaccompanied, despite the fact that they were on the police list if they went out for a walk and were reported missing, that is just one case. Then there was the alan barham Norhampton office capita (ch4 despatches), the only one that got sacked and reported for fitness concerns, did the dwp look at any of his cases, I very much doubt it, did they consider that there were possible issues in the renumeration that led to greed, I very much doubt it, should there be a criminal law that means people like that face criminal courts as well as disciplinary procedure, yes there should be, will that happen, not under the compassionate tory it won’t, they believe in giving knighthoods for this sort of thing, this sort of thing should be escalated to the police, cps and the courts and If found guilty all involved at all levels and that means managing directors and ministers should be given a fair chance in court to defend there corner and if found guilty as well as a huge fine for there companies and hefty prison sentence for the fact that even after a series of warnings about there actions they still persist will be the only justice that can be carried out.

  2. Jeffrey Davies

    How many deaths even I have had a lifelong friend die because of their aktion T4 program of culling the stock through benefits denial. Yet it goes on and on people’s dying daily has of it but RTU IDs the rest are culpable of manslaughter on a massive scale but any one looking into it would bring massive scale of them deleting burning records has they wouldn’t want 300000 or more deaths showing up it’s massive but hay ho nobody wil believe how a government could cull its own people’s through benefits denial jeff3

    1. Justin

      totally agree with you, a long time ago a certain company after a industrial accident that led to a suicide after a long legal fight that ended up in the house of lords, the ruling went against the company and went into millions, not even including the legal costs, it also became a set precedent in law and although there is differential in cases the concluding part was company liability for the suicide, it included person state of mind etc and although money never brings someone back in this case it hit the company probably after all legal costs I would guess somewhere close to 20m, I doubt very much if capita could sustain a few hits like that

    1. Justin

      I know I posted that in twitter, bloody disgrace, I know people that do massive amounts of voluntary work that deserve a knighthood or at least something and then you see this, makes you wonder if it is worth doing anything like that anymore

Comments are closed.