Published on August 12th, 2014 | by admin


Kingshurst Woman Walked in Front of Lorry

KINGSHURST mother-of-two Stephanie Bottrill took her own life when she walked in front of a lorry on the motorway after leaving a note blaming Government benefit changes, a coroner has ruled.

The 52-year-old died in May last year after climbing over a safety barrier on to the M6 in the early hours of the morning near her home.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died as a result of multiple injuries.

A police investigation concluded there was nothing the lorry driver could have done to avoid Stephanie.

The coroner for Birmingham and Solihull Zafar Siddique recorded a verdict of suicide and said it was clear from the note she left it was because of the housing changes she felt under considerable anxiety and stress.

At the time her family said she had been worried about how she would afford an extra £20 a week as a result of changes to her housing benefit.

She lived alone in a three-bedroomed house in Meriden Drive and Solihull Council had sent her a letter asking her to pay £20 a week as part of the Government’s spare room subsidy policy, the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ as her children had flown the nest.

The court heard the Council had offered Stephanie another property to live in without any added payments about six miles away and she was considering whether to move there at the time of her death.

After the inquest, her brother, Kevin Owens said Stephanie wasn’t prepared to give somebody else a chance of a larger home.

He added: “For social housing to work it needs for everybody to take a turn.

“When you’re adequately housed by successive governments, and your needs are met, you must give somebody else a turn.

“It’s terrible that people in this country are cramped into one and two-bedroom flats with children while other people sit on three-bedroom houses.

“Much has been written about ‘bedroom tax’ pushing her – it wasn’t, because prior to that she’d attempted suicide before and that hadn’t been reported before.

“It might have been the catalyst to push her but was it just an excuse she was looking for.”

Solihull Council had offered Mrs Bottrill another property to live in about six miles away and she was considering whether to move there at the time of her death.A council spokesman said there was “never a requirement for Ms Bottrill to move”.Houses were not imposed on people, rather householders selected from a list of available properties and made bids on their choices and in Ms Bottrill’s case she had been successful with two properties, they said.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “This is a tragic case. Our sympathies are with her family.

“There are often complex reasons as to why people may commit suicide and we would not comment further.”

Samaritans said “although a catalyst may appear to be obvious, suicide is seldom the result of a single factor or event and is likely to have several interrelated causes”.

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