Category Archives: Death

Will new inquest into death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting show failure of DWP safeguarding?

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

Permission for a new inquest into the death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting has been granted amid concern that a government department’s role in it had been covered up.

Here is the announcement from solicitors Leigh Day:

“The family of Jodey Whiting has been granted permission to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into her death after new evidence was submitted about the effect on her of a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) decision to halt the benefits on which she was entirely dependent.

“Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove, was granted permission by the office of the Attorney General following her submission that the original inquest into her daughter’s death was insufficient. The new evidence she submitted in support of her application included an investigation into the handling of Jodey’s benefits by the DWP and a report from an independent psychiatrist.

“Jodey, from Stockton-on-Tees, died aged 42 on 21 February, 2017. She took her own life three days after she received her last Employment Support Allowance (ESA) payment.

“She had been informed on 6 February that the payments would stop and the associated housing benefit and council tax benefit payments would also be stopped.

“The decision to halt the payments was made because following a reassessment of Jodey’s entitlement to ESA, begun in 2016, she had failed to attend a work capability assessment (WCA).

“However, Jodey had requested a home visit for the WCA as she rarely left the house because of her severely poor health. She suffered multiple physical and mental health difficulties, took 23 tablets a day and was entirely dependent on welfare benefits.

“She had made in clear in her request for a home WCA that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

“The request was refused, the WCA was set for a date in January, and Jodey did not attend.

“After Jodey’s death, an inquest was held three months later, 24 May, 2017, which lasted less than an hour.

“The coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP and their acts or omissions in Jodey’s death.

“Jodey’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 Jodey.

“Some of the failings had not been known to Jodey’s family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of Jodey’s benefits.

“The opinion of an independent Consultant psychiatrist, sought by Jodey’s family,  confirmed that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on Jodey’s mental state at the time she took her own life.

“Joy argues that the manner in which Jodey 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, Jodey’s death would not have occurred when it did.

“Following the letter giving her permission to apply for a new inquest into Jodey’s death, Joy said: “What a relief to be granted permission for a new inquest into Jodey’s death. It has been a nightmare but I want to thank the hard work of Merry Varney and all the team at Leigh Day and everyone who has been helping me with the Justice for Jodey campaign. This is a big step forward.

““I love my daughter so much and this should never have happened. How could they say she was fit to work? What they put her through was terrible, but I hope that this will mean that Jodey has saved others from the same nightmare.”

“Joy is represented by Leigh Day partner Merry Varney, who added: “The Attorney-General’s decision is very welcome. It is the first completed step in the long journey by Jodey’s family to seek a full and fearless investigation into whether the DWP, and its flawed decision making regarding Jodey’s benefits claim, caused or contributed to her death.

“”We must now apply to the High Court and seek to persuade the Court a fresh inquest is necessary.”

“The application for a new inquest will be made to the High Court within the next 6 weeks and a final hearing may take place by summer, 2021.”

This Site has been covering this case since June 2017 and will report further developments as and when they become available.

Source: Jodey Whiting’s Family Given Permission To Apply For Second Inquest Into Her Death | Leigh Day

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New lockdown looms: will Boris Johnson accept responsibility for all the deaths since he ruled it out?

Johnson’s Covid-19 strategy: muddle the message.

The mainstream and social media are full of reports that Boris Johnson is finally going to give in to the inevitable and impose a new national lockdown – possibly as soon as next week.

The reasons are easy to understand: Covid-19 infections are now reaching a point where they are worse than at the height of the first wave, with 24,405 new infections reported on Friday (October 30), and 274 deaths.

Hospitals are feeling the pressure again, with the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals in Nottinghamshire 40 per cent higher than at the peak of the first wave in April.

And a study found that the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme caused a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, with between eight and 17 per cent of newly-detected infection clusters linked to Rishi Sunak’s hare-brained scheme.

It gets worse:

Starmer is a shameless opportunist, as his reckless bid to kick Jeremy Corbyn out of the Labour Party proves. He’ll split the only realistic opposition party to the Tories, leaving Boris Johnson free to carry on with policies that kill people, well into the future.

And Johnson is killing people. Here’s the proof:

The day after Starmer called for a new lockdown – October 14 – the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) reported that

there were between 43,000 and 74,000 people being infected with coronavirus every day in England.

Their report said: “This is significantly above the profile of the reasonable worst-case scenario, where the number of daily infections in England remained between 12,000-13,000 throughout October.”

So at least four times more people are catching Covid than had been anticipated, meaning SAGE’s worst-case scenario figure of 85,000 deaths over the winter is likely to be a vast underestimation.

It seems that on Friday, at long last, somebody finally broke through to Johnson and managed to communicate to whatever rudimentary thought process occurs within his blonde-befuddled head that something needs to be done. If so, that person may well be a miracle-worker.

And now we have reports of a new lockdown:

So Johnson is finally doing what he should have done 17 days ago – and what the evidence told him to do 16 days ago.

Clearly he has learned nothing in the seven months since March, when he also delayed implementing lockdown until the situation reached a point where many thousands more people died than would have if he had only acted a little sooner.

Now, even if he does impose a new lockdown, many thousands more people have already died than needed to – and many thousands more will die.

That is what experience tells us.

Will Johnson accept that, as prime minister, he is responsible for these deaths? If not, how can we make him accept responsibility for them?

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Why do we think it’s okay for people with disabilities to be terrorised by Tory benefit assessors?

As seen on Twitter.

“When I looked at the report I had to double check it had my name on it. I have never seen so many lies in my life!”

That‘s just one comment on the assessment process for Personal Independence Payment, the so-called “benefit” the Conservative government claims it provides to people with disabilities.

In fact, it has always been more about denying that claimants have any disabilities at all and removing their cash so that they die slowly in despair – but the Tories can deny responsibility.

A response to the above comment reads: “Fantasy masquerading as fact again in a PIP assessment. How many more such cases are there going to be before the DWP does something about it?”

Many – because a change of government is required before we can expect a change of heard and we can’t expect that any time soon.

Even people who should reasonably expect to be safe from sanction are terrorised by the process.

So. The dreaded PIP renewal has arrived. Why when he’s 20 and nothing has changed, do I get the awful knot in tummy? Knowing we will have to fight hard again,” wrote one carer.

Another wrote: “Got a brown envelope regarding … PIP today. Theres no issue, they’re extending it. Its fine. But the effect that brown envelope has on me is terrifying. Seeing it makes me physically sick, sweaty and my heart race I’m genuinely scared [of] my government.”

These good people have reason to be.

New figures from the Department for Work and Pensions have shown that, between April 2018 and the end of January this year, 1,700 people died within three months of their PIP claim being rejected by the government.

As I mentioned above, the Tories can deny responsibility for these deaths – as minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson did when providing the figures in response to a question from Labour MP Jessica Morden.

He said: “There is no evidence in this data to suggest someone’s reason for claiming Personal Independence Payments was the cause of their death and it would be misleading to suggest otherwise.”

But it is reasonable to question whether these people would have died if they had not been deprived of the benefits they seem clearly to have needed, in order to live.

And these figures follow on from work carried out by This Writer – me – a few years ago in which I had to force the government of the day to admit 2,400 people had died between dates in 2011 and 2014, within just two weeks of having their claims for sickness benefits rejected.

It is a quiet cull.

The Tories have learned from the mistakes of the Nazis; they don’t send a van around to people’s houses to gas people with disabilities to death. They have realised they don’t have to.

The Tories know that it is much easier for them simply to deprive people with disabilities who claim benefits – the Nazis used to call them “useless eaters” and I’m sure some Tories do the same – of the means to survive.

This Site is filled with countless stories of the victims of this policy.

I could pick holes in Tomlinson’s words; of course it is not anybody’s reason for claiming a benefit that leads to their death after being denied it. The cause is the deprivation of the means to continue living.

But no individual case can prove this because the Tories would say it was anecdotal.

What is needed is a class action legal case in which it may be demonstrated that disabled people died who may not have done so, had they not been deprived of money.

There are plenty of examples now. All that is needed is someone to take it up as a cause. They could probably face a deluge of information if only they advertised for it.

I would do it myself but I seem to be spending too much time in courtrooms as it is. And I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

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Coffey’s not your mate! Watch her dodge duty of care to vulnerable benefit claimants

Therese Coffey: she’ll dodge any implication that she has a duty of care to vulnerable benefit claimants – remember, she couldn’t care less about a human being who starved to death because of the decisions of her Tory colleagues.

This is very revealing.

Questioned on whether the Tory government has a duty of care towards vulnerable benefit claimants – think “people with disabilities”, “people with mental health issues”, “people with long-term illnesses” – Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey could only say that no such duty has been written into the statute books.

She avoided giving an opinion on whether she had a moral duty to look after the interests of people claiming state benefits:

Well she would, wouldn’t she?

Since 2010, the Conservatives have presided over – no, they’ve precipitated – the deaths of uncounted numbers of people: with disabilities, with long-term illnesses, with mental health problems, in care homes, in their old age, and I’m sure I’m missing a few categories.

They have deliberately avoided any effort to count the dead, saying once people have been pushed off benefits, the government has no responsibility for them.

But that isn’t true.

There’s a question of whether the government is right to deny benefits to people, or to make them so low that people starve, or fall into despair, and die.

That’s where the moral question is useful.

Is there a likelihood that a person’s health will suffer as a result of benefit denial?

If so, shouldn’t the government monitor their progress?

If not – how does the government know, and shouldn’t it monitor them anyway, to make sure they have other means of support – both financial and mental?

That’s the question Ms Abrahams was asking.

Ms Coffey’s response tells you everything you need to know about her, and the Tory government she represents.

They say they aren’t killing anybody, but it’s only because they aren’t actually stabbing or shooting people. The effect is the same.

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‘Knuckledragging racists’ try to use Croydon police tragedy to attack black MP

Dawn Butler: racists have used the tragic death of a police officer to attack this London MP, who also happens to be a black woman. They don’t care about the man who died – he was just a handy hook on which they could hang their bile.

This is a new depth of depravity.

After Brent MP Dawn Butler tweeted her condolences about the police officer who was shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre, the racists have turned out in their thousands to blame her for it.

Their reason is the fact that she complained about being in a car subjected to stop-and-search by (other) officers from the same force, for “driving around while black”.

These are completely separate incidents.

So Ms Butler’s highly-vocal critics are wrong to suggest that her tweet is hypocritical. Complaining about an incident of apparent racial profiling is not the same as wishing death upon any police officer.

Nor is her complaint about a stop-and-search procedure that had no justification any reason to suggest that she had somehow prevented police from finding the weapon that was used in the Croydon attack.

If you’re unaware of the facts of the case, here they are:

A long-serving police officer has been shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre in south London.

The male sergeant was shot in the chest before the suspect turned the firearm on himself, sources have told the BBC.

The man had been brought to the custody suite in a police vehicle and the shooting happened during questioning about Covid-19, the BBC was told.

It was believed the suspect – who is critically ill in hospital – was known to counter-terrorism police.

Ms Butler had clashed with other police officers in a very widely-reported incident which she recorded, using her mobile phone.

But it is insanity to suggest that she held the actions of those officers against the entire force – or that, even if she had, she would want any police officers to die. That is what has been implied today.

Ms Butler tweeted the following:

As a London MP, it is entirely appropriate for her to have sent this message.

Brace yourself, because here come a few of the replies:

There have been many, many more.

Notice the number of flags in the profile pictures? What does that suggest to you? To me it suggests racism – English nationalism, “Britain for the British” and all the usual bilge.

Many of the attacks focused on the Chris Phillips quote about stop-and-search, so let’s put an answer to them straight away:

Notable among the critics was that humdrum right-wing rabble-rumbler Julia Hartley Doodah, who added this to the mix:

… and had her derriere minced into burger meat and handed back to her:

Fortunately, it seems there are still more decent people in the UK than loudmouthed racist imbeciles. Let’s give reason some space now:

Oh, and perhaps someone who has served as a police officer should have a say:

No, she wasn’t. Her behaviour was entirely proper. Those who attacked her are the shame of the nation.

But I do think some politicians should take blame for what has happened here: Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage. David Cameron. Anybody who used the EU referendum campaign to stir up jingoistic, fake patriotism that was really racism in disguise. Priti Patel, for insisting on deporting refugees. Theresa May, for insisting on deporting UK citizens. Successive Tory governments that encouraged the claim that foreigners were coming to the UK and taking citizens’ jobs and/or claiming state benefits. The list goes on and on.

Racism is on the rise because right-wing politicians thought it would make them popular.

But who’s getting the blame for it in this story?

The black person.

And who’s being ignored in the rush to lay that blame?

The dead person.

What a hateful day.

Source: Police officer shot dead at Croydon Custody Centre – BBC News

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Continuation of Tory business by other means: disabled people make up six in 10 Covid-19 deaths

Targeted: more elderly and disabled people have died of Covid-19 than anybody else. Doesn’t that suit the Tories’ purposes perfectly?

It’s a sickening thought but it just might be possible that Boris Johnson and his Tories have been allowing Covid-19 to go unchecked – in certain places – because it is fulfilling their goals.

We all know that the Conservatives hate – I mean they absolutely hate – people with disabilities, for no reason other than that they have disabilities. It’s a classic prejudice that, if it were drawn along racial line, would demand prosecutions.

That’s why Tory policy since 2010 has been so brutal towards people with disabilities and has caused so many deaths. Just read back through This Site’s posts over the last nine years and you’ll see what I mean.

Covid-19 seems to have given them an excuse. It’s not just their policies causing the deaths any more – it’s the virus.

What a great way to excuse themselves!

I fear that is exactly how people like Therese Coffey and Iain Duncan Smith, not to mention Johnson himself, think.

Here’s Metro:

More than half of people who died of coronavirus in England and Wales had a disability, new figures revealed.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 59% of all deaths involving Covid-19 from March 2 to July 14 were of disabled people.

But only 16% of the population have disabilities, according to 2011 Census data, meaning they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Targeted is the word I would use.

After adjusting for region, population density, socio-demographic and household characteristics, the coronavirus mortality rates between disabled and non-disabled people was 2.4 times higher for females and 2.0 times higher for males.

And the benefit to the Tories was even greater among pensioners, who the Tories consider a huge burden on the Treasury:

For women over 65 with a severe disability, the mortality rate was 589.63 compared with 187.95 for non-disabled women.

Out of the 19,405 deaths of females aged 65 and older from March 2 to July 14, the proportion of disabled people was the largest, accounting for 67.2% (13,048).

In contrast, among the 2,766 deaths of males aged 9 to 64, the share made up by disabled people was the smallest at 38.5% (1,066).

I know: it’s a disease and it most strongly affects those who have the least resistance to it.

That’s exactly what they want you to think.

Source: Coronavirus UK: Disabled people make up six in ten Covid-19 deaths | Metro News

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Is #BorisJohnson thinking of another #lockdown so people can die – alone and uncounted – at home? Will #KeirStarmer support this?

Johnson v Starmer: in Prime Minister’s Questions they make a show of opposing each other but when it comes to depriving people of vitally-needed funds, it seems they are equally homicidal.

It seems Boris Johnson is considering a new tightening of restrictions on the public, in an effort to turn back what he has now acknowledged as a second wave of Covid-19. But is there an ulterior motive?

The first national lockdown he imposed, back in March, meant many people died alone at home – unnoticed by the authorities who were struggling to cope with hospital admissions or by neighbours, friends and relatives who were under what amounted to house arrest.

Here’s one such example:

Notice that this death was not due to Covid-19 infection. It was due to denial of Universal Credit. The lockdown meant this person was unable to seek or secure any help at all.

Remember that Universal Credit sanctions were suspended after the lockdown started, but there was no amnesty for those who were already under sanction.

How many more deaths were there? I don’t know, but to demonstrate that this wasn’t an isolated incident, here’s another:

Ms Farrell added the following:

Yes – Johnson does have blood on his hands, and will have more to wash off if he imposes any further lockdowns without checks on vulnerable people, including those who are being denied benefits.

But that blood should be shared with all those who rejected the idea of a Universal Basic Income for everybody, at least during the lockdown.

This would have ensured that nobody fell through the cracks in provision – as the examples above show obviously occurred.

Labour leader Keir Starmer was among those who opposed the establishment of a UBI – and may therefore have to join Johnson in the virtual washroom, soaping the blood off himself.

A friend of This Site made the point in a tweet responding to his attempt to publicise his virtual conference, Labour Connected:

He’ll do neither. His inactions so far indicate that this Red Tory leader wants vulnerable people to die, just as much as Johnson does.

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Elderly man’s health failed and he died after council sent his wife to a care home

When care isn’t so caring: one partner was taken into a home and the health of the other deteriorated until he died. Why didn’t the council consider this? Or was it just a financial consideration?

In these days of Covid-19, one might be forgiven for thinking this gentleman was worrying himself sick that his wife would catch the virus and die.

But it is also a recognised phenomenon that if a couple who have been together for many years are split up, most commonly because one of them dies, then the remaining partner’s health often suffers – possibly to death.

So This Writer is led to question why the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead didn’t take this into account when it split up the couple in this story. Was it just a question of money – that it was cheaper to split this couple, and never mind of one of them died? And what happened to the house where the deceased gentleman had been living?

An elderly couple of 59 years were split up with little regard for their welfare by Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

The couple were separated when the wife was discharged to a care home after leaving hospital.

The husband was left to live in the family home with the help of care workers, but quickly deteriorated.

He became very low, did not eat or drink properly and lost weight. He stopped going out and instead spent a lot of time in his bed.

When the family complained a few days later the council agreed to take more steps to help the man visit his wife, but he passed away just a few weeks after.

A report by the Ombudsman found the council did not do enough to consider the man’s situation when his wife left hospital, despite his family telling it he would suffer at home.

Windsor and Maidenhead Council has a history of ill-treating people. Back in 2018, it tried to get police to arrest homeless people under the Vagrancy Act so they wouldn’t be on the streets during the Royal Wedding.

Then it imposed a fine on aggressive or proactive begging, requests for money, leaving bedding and belongings in a public area and other behaviour associated with homelessness – totalling an unaffordable £1,000.

Needless to say, it is a Conservative-run authority.

Source: Elderly man suffers after council splits him from his wife

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U-turn and u-turn again as Boris Johnson first agrees, then refuses to meet bereaved Covid campaigners

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions. Now he is resorting to flat-out lies.

How galling for the 14 million who voted for him to realise that Boris Johnson is such a craven coward.

He can’t even bear to meet people who have lost family members due to his mistakes – so he has made up a succession of reasons not to.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK may not have a snappy name but they do have a good reason for existence – they want an inquiry into the Johnson government’s decisions on the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

The organisation wisely distrusts Johnson’s claim that he will hold an inquiry “at the appropriate time” and has already issued a “letter before action”, warning that the group is considering litigation to secure an inquiry.

But a letter before action is not itself litigation.

So when Boris Johnson said, “It turns out that this particular group are currently in litigation with the government. I will certainly meet them once that litigation is concluded,” he was lying.

He had previously promised to meet them.

Perhaps he was hoping that most people would not know enough about court action to tell that he was telling a falsehood in order to run away from the potentially disastrous publicity a meeting would create.

It’s also possible that he was hoping his u-turn would not come to public attention.

This Writer is already on the record as saying it is unlikely an inquiry will take place. Politicians like Johnson say there will be one “at the appropriate time” when a crisis is ongoing and people are demanding it but, the instant the trouble is over, they insist that it would be better to put the matter behind us.

Let’s face it: Johnson is notoriously bad – embarrassing, in fact – when he doesn’t have a script to read out. He may be afraid he’ll say something that may be used against him later.

So he’s running away from a meeting he promised to attend.

And that, dear reader, is the act of a coward.

Source: Coronavirus: Campaigners reject PM’s ‘poor excuse’ for not meeting them – BBC News

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Your Tory government: social security minister couldn’t show sympathy for mum who starved to death

Therese Coffey: this fat (let’s be honest about it) Tory showed that she couldn’t care less about a human being who starved to death because of the decisions of her Tory colleagues.

Therese Coffey is a shining example of Tory inhumanity when faced with the suffering of others, isn’t she?

You’ll be aware of the tragedy of Mercy Baguma, the refugee mother who died after the Home Office removed her right to remain in the UK, depriving her of the means to support herself.

Coffey – your secretary of state for Work and Pensions, remember, and therefore the minister who should be most associated with compassion, failed no less than three times to show any human feeling for the lady her government starved to death.

The Liverpool Echo provides the details:

Dr Coffey said: “I think I know the situation and its a lady with immigration status that may have changed. This really is a matter for the Home Office to decide. I’m concious that people can also apply for changes to their status with the Home Office, if they are struggling with aspects of that.”

Asked again to show some compassion for a woman who starved to death next to her baby, Dr Coffey again refused, stating: “I don’t know the ins and outs, I know it happened in Glasgow fairly recently – but really the Home Office is the place that decides on this.”

Given yet another chance to show some humanity, [Kay] Burley asked ‘what sort of society are we when a woman can starve to death next to her child?’

“What I’m trying to say Kay is that when people are in very difficult situations and are looking to the government for help, there are ways they can access that help.”

After a final attempt to draw some compassion from the Minister, the Sky host eventually gave up.

Viewers were shocked at the cold-hearted responses to such a tragic story.

And so they should be.

The simple fact is that Ms Coffey does not think there is anything wrong with somebody she considers to be a lower form of life starving to death.

I don’t mean a person of a different race, or from a different country, either.

I refer to a person in a different income bracket.

Bear in mind that, unless your are exceptionally rich, you are also a lower form of life, as far as Therese Coffey is concerned.

She couldn’t care less if you live or die – even if she happened to be responsible for it.

Source: DWP boss refuses sympathy for mum who died next to starving child – Liverpool Echo

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