Crawley man killed himself after losing benefits — (The Argus)

First Posted on

To view original article click here

The Argus

Delany, Senior Reporter

Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News

A protest was staged in memory of a Crawley man who committed suicide after losing his benefits.

Unemployed electrician Lee Robinson, 39, took his own life after his housing benefit and council tax benefit was taken away.

He is thought to be the first person in Sussex whose suicide is officially linked to recent benefits cuts.

Campaigner Richard Symonds, who helped organise the protest, said: “Lee Robinson was hounded to death by the very people who were supposed to help him live.

“Undoubtedly the DWP personified by Ian Duncan Smith and Lord Freud had a part to play in implementing the policies that would make Hitler proud.”

Mr Robison, of Furzefield, Crawley, had battled depression after failing to find work.

When benefits changes were introduced by the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) Mr Robinson lost his automatic entitlement to employment support allowance (ESA).

He also struggled with depression, was taking antidepressants and had some contact with mental health services in Crawley.

Speaking at Mr Robinson’s inquest, Penelope Schofield, coroner for West Sussex, said: “Mr Robinson tried to be positive but found it hard in the economic climate.

“His main issues were his benefits had been stopped and he had to go to the job centre to claim jobseekers allowance.”

He was found to have taken his own life at the inquest in County Hall, Horsham, on August 21.

A statement read on behalf of Mr Robinson’s family said: “We feel very sad that Lee had been trying to access mental health services for years but had only recently been referred.

“It’s far too little, much too late.”

A spokesman for Crawley Borough Council said: “We were saddened to hear of Mr Robinson’s death. Mr Robinson was in receipt of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) stopped his Employment Support Allowance in January this year.

“The DWP’s decision automatically stops any automatic entitlement to benefits paid by the council. The council suspended the benefits and were waiting on Mr Robinson to provide further information.”

Note: Toxicology report showed antidepressant in his blood.