This week I was saddened, sickened and ultimately enraged, by the story that emerged concerning the British army veteran and his wife who had been driven to suicide by poverty.
Apparently the newly married couple had been forced to live on 57 pounds a week job seekers allowance and opted to kill themselves rather than face another winter on the bread line.
Mark and Helen Mullins 48 and 59 years old respectively had been living hand to mouth after their benefits were stopped 18 months ago.
Mrs. Mullins seemingly suffered from learning difficulties and the ‘warm hearted’ social services had taken her daughter away last year, after she was deemed incapable of looking after the child. Not only did she then lose her child benefits, but in an almost unbelievable ruling, was denied any incapacity benefit because her condition had not been ’officially diagnosed’. (It was, of course ‘officially diagnosed’ enough to take her child away!)
Mr. Mullins, who was her full time carer, was also denied benefits for the same reason. In the struggle to survive, the couple had to make made a daily trip of 12 miles to a soup kitchen, where they received vegetables which they then boiled into a broth on a camping stove.
To preserve heating costs they lived in one room of their council house and, because they couldn’t afford a fridge, kept what little meager food they could obtain in plastic bags in the garden. Finally this tragic couple, who, according to neighbours, were ‘always hand in hand like young lovers’, decided it was all too much (or too little!) and in a heartbreaking suicide pact took their own lives.
Well, as I remarked at the beginning of this piece, doesn’t that ‘sadden,’ because it is such a heart rending story. ‘Sicken’ because of the incompetence and non caring actions of the local social services.
And enrage, if only because on the following page of this newspaper report there was a story of the un -employed asylum seeker from Nigeria, who had been given a 400,000 pound house for he and his large family to live in and was receiving 450 pounds A WEEK in benefits! To take the whole ‘tin’ he was actually reported to be complaining because the house ‘wasn’t big enough!’
You really couldn’t make it up. Warwickshire county council have yet refused to comment because the couples had not been ‘formally identified’. Give us a break.
To me this borders very close to ‘death by negligence’ and somebody should be brought to book on criminal charges- but they won’t will they? Instead of, at the very least given the sack, these incompetent and uncaring social service workers will no doubt get away Scot free.
Allowed to continue unchecked with yet more unforgivable and inconceivable errors of judgment, presumably ad infinitum.
Sometimes I do despair of it all.
Keep the faith.