Tag Archives: Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006

Government should face corporate manslaughter charge after suicide verdict on Stephanie Bottrill

Victim of government persecution: A coroner has agreed that government pressure drove Stephanie Bottrill to suicide.

Victim of government persecution: A coroner has agreed that government pressure drove Stephanie Bottrill to suicide.

It’s official – stress and pressure caused by the Bedroom Tax pushed grandmother Stephanie Bottrill into taking her own life.

Zafar Siddique, coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, said he was “satisfied she intended to take her own life” after hearing evidence that Mrs Bottrill had blamed the government’s Bedroom Tax policy for pushing her to suicide in a note she left at her Meriden Drive, Kingshurst, home before walking across the M6 motorway into a collision with a lorry early on May 4, 2013.

The coroner also heard evidence from Dr Bindu Nair, who saw the former postal worker the day before her death after Mrs Bottrill’s daughter-in-law, concerned for her safety, made an appointment.

Dr Nair said Mrs Bottrill had “expressed unhappiness at being pushed by the housing department to make a decision, in half an hour, in reference to being made to move into a smaller property”.

He added that Ms Bottrill was “happy to move but it was the way in which she was forced to make a decision” which had caused her “considerable anxiety and stress”.

Unmentioned in the report is the fact that Mrs Bottrill was found to be exempt from the Bedroom Tax (also called the State Under-Occupation Charge) under the Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2006, because she had been living at her address since before January 1996.

The implications for the government are enormous.

A British court has accepted that a government policy pushed a UK citizen into ending her life.

Organisations including government departments are guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which their 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.

The pressure placed on Mrs Bottrill, according to the evidence of her own doctor, caused “considerable anxiety and stress” that contributed to her decision to commit suicide.

It seems clear that the Department for Work and Pensions – as the organisation responsible for both the Bedroom Tax and the pressure placed on Mrs Bottrill by housing officers – must now face criminal charges under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

As far as this blog is concerned, responsibility for this woman’s death lies firmly with Iain Duncan Smith.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books and support our
fight for justice – for everyone harmed by government policy!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
Y
ou can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Bedroom tax death inquest to take place – at long last

Bedroom tax victim? Stephanie Bottrill, the woman who walked in front of a lorry after the Bedroom Tax - apparently imposed on her in error - left her without enough money to make ends meet.

Bedroom tax victim? Stephanie Bottrill, the woman who walked in front of a lorry after the Bedroom Tax – apparently imposed on her in error – left her without enough money to make ends meet.

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Buy Vox Political books and help us
continue bringing these human stories to light!

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
Y
ou can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Was Stephanie Bottrill a victim of corporate manslaughter?

140111Stephanie-Bottrill

It’s what we all feared, as soon as we found out that people who have been in the same social housing since before 1996 are exempt from the Bedroom Tax:

Stephanie Bottrill, the grandmother who committed suicide because she could not afford to pay the Bedroom Tax, was one of those who should never have been asked to pay.

She took her own life by walking in front of a lorry on the M6 in May last year, just one month after the Bedroom Tax – sometimes called the State Under-Occupation Charge – had been introduced by Iain Duncan Smith. Her rent at the time was £320 per month, some of which was subsidised by Housing Benefit – but the imposition of an extra £80 charge, to come from her own money, was too much for her finances to take.

She left a note to relatives in which she made clear that she had taken her own life – and that she blamed the government.

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.

Will we soon see Iain Duncan Smith – or better still, David Cameron – in court?

Vox Political cannot bring you this information without funds.
The site needs YOUR support to continue fighting on this, and other issues.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook