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Blog - Vince Laws

UK Welfare-Related Deaths: The Black Triangle List / 30 April 2015


The following text taken from the Black Triangle List was found and edited by poet, artist and campaigner Vince Laws in collaboration with film maker, digital artist, and campaigner Andrew Day.

Black Triangle Campaign

Made for Dandifest! Norwich launch 27/5/15 with Arts Council England funding from the National Lottery, and donations.

Hello John
I’m a poet, artist, and campaigner in Norfolk.
I want to list the people who have died within 6 weeks of their benefit ending.

I think it was at 10,200 or something when the government stopped counting… And any subsequent deaths that are due to DWP/benefit cuts.

Does such a list exist?

Hi Vince
I’m afraid that was based on a number from a DWP statistics release, and there is no list of names available.
However, Black Triangle have an ongoing list of cases that have come from media reports of welfare-linked deaths.
Last time I looked, they were just short of 100 names.

The Black Triangle List

In Memory of those we have lost
In Hope for those who remain

Terry McGarvey, 48.
Dangerously ill from polycytheamia
Terry asked for an ambulance
to be called during his
Work Capability Assessment.
He knew that he wasn’t well enough
to attend his WCA
but feared his benefits
would be stopped if he did not.
He died the following day.

Elaine Lowe, 53.
Suffering from COPD
and fearful of losing her benefits.
In desperation,
Elaine chose to commit suicide.

Mark Wood, 44.
Found fit for work by Atos,
against his Doctors advice and assertions
that he had complex mental health problems.
Starved to death after benefits stopped,
weighing 5st 8lb when he died.

Paul Reekie, 48
the Leith based Poet and Author.
Suffered from severe depression.
Committed suicide after DWP stopped his benefits
due to an Atos ‘fit for work’ decision.

Leanne Chambers, 30.
Suffered depression for many years
which took a turn for the worst
when she was called in for a WCA.
Leanne committed suicide soon after.

Karen Sherlock, 44.
Multiple health issues.
Found fit for work by Atos
and denied benefits.
Fought a long battle
to get placed into the support group of ESA.
Karen died the following month of a heart attack.

Carl Payne, 42.
Fears of losing his lifeline benefits
due to welfare reform
led this Father of two
to take his own life.

Tim Salter, 53.
Blind and suffering from Agoraphobia.
Tim hanged himself after Atos
found him fit for work
and stopped his benefits.

Edward Jacques, 47
suffering from HIV and Hepatitis C.
Edward had a history of severe depression and self-harm.
He took a fatal overdose after Atos
found him fit for work and stopped his benefits.

Linda Wootton, 49
A double heart and lung transplant patient.
Died nine days after government found her fit for work,
their refusal letter arriving as she lay
desperately ill in her hospital bed.

Steven Cawthra, 55.
His benefits stopped by the DWP and with rising debts,
he saw suicide as the only way out of a desperate situation.

Elenore Tatton, 39
Died just weeks after the government found her fit for work.

John Walker, 57,
saddled with debt because of the bedroom tax,
John took his own life.

Brian McArdle, 57
Suffered a fatal heart attack
the day after his disability benefits were stopped.

Stephen Hill, 53.
Died of a heart attack
one month after being found fit for work,
even though he was waiting for major heart surgery.

Jacqueline Harris, 53.
A former Nurse who could hardly walk
was found fit for work by Atos
and her benefits withdrawn.
in desperation, she took her own life.

David Barr, 28.
Suffering from severe mental difficulties.
Threw himself from a bridge
after being found fit for work by Atos
and failing his appeal.

David Groves, 56.
Died of a heart attack
the night before taking his work capability assessment.
His widow claimed that it was the stress that killed him.

Nicholas Peter Barker, 51.
Shot himself after being told
his benefits were being stopped.
He was unable to work after a brain haemorrhage
left him paralysed down one side.

Mark and Helen Mullins, 48 and 59 years old.
Forced to live on £57.50 a week
and make 12 mile trips each week
to get free vegetables to make soup.
Mark and Helen both committed suicide.

Richard Sanderson, 44.
Unable to find a job
and with his housing benefit cut
forcing him to move,
but with nowhere to go.
Richard committed suicide.

Martin Rust, 36
A schizophrenic man who killed himself
two months after the government found him fit to work.

Craig Monk, 43.
A vulnerable gentleman and a partial amputee
who slipped so far into poverty that he hanged himself.

Colin Traynor, 29,
suffering from epilepsy
was stripped of his benefits.
He appealed.
Five weeks after his death
his family found he had won his appeal.

Elaine Christian, 57
Worried about her work capability assessment,
she was subsequently found at Holderness drain,
drowned and with ten self inflicted wrist wounds.

Christelle and Kayjah Pardoe, 32 years and 5 month old.
Pregnant, her benefits stopped, Christelle,
clutching her baby son
jumped from a third floor balcony.

Mark Scott, 46.
His DLA and housing benefit stopped
and sinking into deep depression,
Mark died six weeks later.

Cecilia Burns, 51.
Found fit for work while undergoing
treatment for breast cancer.
She died just a few weeks after
she won her appeal against the Atos decision.

Chris Cann, 57.
Found dead in his home
just months after being told
he had to undergo
a medical assessment to prove
he could not work.

Peter Hodgson, 49.
Called to JCP to see if he was suitable for volunteer work.
Peter had suffered a stroke, a brain haemorrhage and had a fused leg.
His appointment letter arrived a few days after he took his own life.

Paul Willcoxsin, 33.
Suffered with mental health problems
and worried about government cuts.
Paul committed suicide by hanging himself.

Stephanie Bottrill, 53.
After paying £80 a month for bedroom tax,
Stephanie could not afford heating in the winter,
and lived on tinned custard.
In desperation,
she chose to walk in front of a lorry.

Larry Newman
suffered from a degenerative lung condition,
his weight dropping from 10 to 7 stone.
Atos awarded him zero points,
he died just three months after submitting his appeal.

Paul Turner, 52.
After suffering a heart attack,
he was ordered to find a job in February.
In April Paul died from ischaemic heart disease.

Christopher Charles Harkness, 39.
After finding out that the funding
for his care home was being withdrawn,
this man who suffered with mental health issues,
took his own life.

Sandra Louise Moon, 57.
Suffering from a degenerative back condition,
depression and increasingly worried
about losing her incapacity benefit.
Sandra committed suicide by taking an overdose.

Lee Robinson, 39.
Took his own life
after his housing benefit and council tax
were taken away from him.

David Coupe, 57.
A Cancer sufferer
found fit for work by Atos in 2012.
David lost his sight,
then his hearing,
then his mobility,
and then his life.

Michael McNicholas, 34.
Severely depressed and a recovering alcoholic.
Michael committed suicide
after being called in for a
Work Capability Assessment by Atos.

Victor Cuff, 59
suffering from severe depression.
Victor hanged himself
after the DWP stopped his benefits.

Charles Barden, 74.
Charles committed suicide by hanging
due to fears that the Bedroom Tax
would leave him destitute
and unable to cope.

Ian Caress, 43.
Suffered multiple health issues
and deteriorating eyesight.
Ian was found fit for work by Atos,
he died ten months later
having lost so much weight
that his family said
he resembled a concentration camp victim.

Iain Hodge, 30.
Suffered from the life threatening illness,
Hughes Syndrome.
Found fit for work by Atos and benefits stopped,
Iain took his own life.

Wayne Grew, 37.
Severely depressed due to government cuts
and the fear of losing his job,
Wayne committed suicide by hanging.

Kevin Bennett, 40.
Kevin a sufferer of schizophrenia and mental illness
became so depressed after his JSA was stopped
that he became a virtual recluse.
Kevin was found dead in his flat several months later.

David Elwyn Hughs Harries, 48.
A disabled man who could no longer cope
after his parents died,
could find no help from the government via benefits.
David took an overdose as a way out of his solitude.

Denis Jones, 58.
A disabled man crushed by the pressures of government cuts,
in particular the Bedroom Tax,
and unable to survive by himself.
Denis was found dead in his flat.

Shaun Pilkington, 58.
Unable to cope any more,
Shaun shot himself dead
after receiving a letter from the DWP
informing him that his ESA was being stopped.

Paul ?, 51.
Died in a freezing cold flat
after his ESA was stopped.
Paul appealed the decision and won
on the day that he lost his battle to live.

Chris MaGuire, 61.
Deeply depressed and incapable of work,
Chris was summonsed by Atos
for a Work Capability Assessment
and deemed fit for work.
On appeal, a judge overturned the Atos decision
and ordered them to leave him alone
for at least a year,
which they did not do.
In desperation,
Chris took his own life,
unable to cope anymore.

Peter Duut,
a Dutch national with terminal cancer
living in the UK for many years
found that he was not entitled to benefits
unless he was active in the labour market.
Peter died leaving his wife destitute,
and unable to pay for his funeral.

George Scollen, age unknown.
Took his own life
after the government closed
the Remploy factory
he had worked in for 40 years.

Julian Little, 47.
Wheelchair bound and suffering from kidney failure,
Julian faced the harsh restrictions of the Bedroom Tax
and the loss of his essential dialysis room.
He died shortly after being ordered to downgrade.

Miss DE, Early 50’s.
Suffering from mental illness,
this lady committed suicide less
than a month after an Atos assessor
gave her zero points and declared her fit for work.

Robert Barlow, 47.
Suffering from a brain tumour,
a heart defect and awaiting a transplant,
Robert was deemed fit for work by Atos
and his benefits were withdrawn.
He died penniless less than two years later.

Carl Joseph Foster-Brown, 58.
As a direct consequence
of the wholly unjustifiable actions of the Job centre and DWP,
this man took his own life.

Martin Hadfield, 20 years old.
Disillusioned with the lack of jobs available in this country
but too proud to claim benefits.
Utterly demoralised,
Martin took his own life by hanging himself.

Annette Francis, 30.
A mum-of-one suffering from severe mental illness,
found dead after her disability benefits were ceased.

Ian Jordan, 60.
His benefits slashed after Atos and the DWP declared Ian,
a sufferer of Barratt’s Oesophagus, fit for work,
caused him to run up massive debts in order to survive.
Ian was found dead in his flat after taking an overdose.

Janet McCall, 53.
Terminally ill with pulmonary fibrosis
and declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos and the DWP,
this lady died 5 months after
her benefits were stopped.

Stuart Holley, 23.
A man driven to suicide by the DWP’s incessant pressure
and threat of sanctions for not being able to find a job.

Graham Shawcross, 63.
A sufferer of the debilitating disease, Addison’s.
Died of a heart attack due to the stress of an Atos ‘Fit for Work’ decision.

David Clapson, 59 years old.
A diabetic ex-soldier deprived of the means to survive
by the DWP and the governments harsh welfare reforms,
David died all but penniless,
starving and alone,
his electricity run out.

Chris Smith, 59.
Declared ‘Fit for Work’ by Atos
as he lay dying of Cancer in his hospital bed.

Nathan Hartwell, 36
died of heart failure after an 18-month battle
with the ­Department for Works and Pensions.

Michael Connolly, 60.
A Father of One,
worried about finances after his benefits were cut.
Committed suicide by taking 13 times the fatal dose
of prescription medicine on His Birthday.

Jan Mandeville, 52
A lady suffering from Fibromyalgia,
driven to the point of mental and physical breakdown
by this governments welfare reforms.
Jan was found dead in her home
after battling the DWP for ESA and DLA.

Trevor Drakard, 50 years old.
A shy and reserved,
severe epileptic
who suffered regular
and terrifying fits almost his entire life,
hounded to suicide by the DWP
who threatened to stop his life-line benefits.

Death of a severely disabled Dorset resident, unnamed,
who took her own life while battling the bedroom tax.

The black triangle was a badge
used in Nazi concentration camps
to mark prisoners as “asocial”
or “arbeitsscheu” (work-shy).
It was later adopted as a lesbian
or feminist symbol of pride and solidarity,
on the assumption that the Nazis
included lesbians in the “asocial” category.

More recently it has been adopted
by UK disabled people’s organisations
responding to increasing press allegations
that disabled benefit recipients are workshy.
08457 90 90 90

It doesn’t have to be like this.
There are better alternatives
like the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto
published by Inclusion London

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Alan Morrison
6 years ago

Jane mccormick / 7 May 2015

This is shocking and very worrying for all people with chronic illness and disability. Listened to liz Crow reading out her list of people affecteted by Austerity cuts at the burning of her We are Figures piece last night. Together they make for grim picture of the UK today. I can only hope the election results will bring some good news

Karen Bright
Karen Bright
2 years ago


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