Disabled mum’s heartbreaking last words before taking own life as DWP stop benefits
Former shop assistant Jodey Whiting had her benefits stopped for missing an appointment when she had pneumonia. Now a petition is calling for an independent inquiry
As dailyrecord.co.uk reported ” The last words Jodey Whiting said to her mum were, “I love you, I’m going to go to sleep, Mam.”
The last person she spoke to was her mum, telling her at the end of their call: “I love you, I’m going to go to sleep, Mam.”
The following day her mum, Joy Dove, discovered Jodey’s body. It was surrounded by farewell notes to her family.
Jodey, who was described as a loving and caring mother, suffered from several physical and mental health issues, including curvature of the spine and a brain cyst, reports Mirror Online .
A former shop assistant from Stockton-on-Tees, she took 23 tablets each day, including morphine, for the crippling pain which left her barely able to even crawl from her home.
But Jodey’s benefits had been stopped for missing an appointment when she had pneumonia.
The DWP has since been found to have broken its own rules amid “multiple failings” by officials.
A watchdog has demanded the “blunt and insensitive” DWP apologise and pay Jodey’s family £10,000 over its handling of her case.
The Prime Minister has called it an “appalling case” and the DWP has apologised.
But Jodey’s mum wants more.
“If that was me, I’d be taken to court. I want the same to happen to them,” she says.
Justice for Jodey Whiting is now at the heart of a petition calling for “an independent inquiry into deaths linked to the DWP” to establish whether there has been “misconduct by civil servants or ministers”.
The petition, backed by Disability News Service, Black Triangle, Disabled People Against Cuts, Mental Health Resistance Network and WoW Campaign now has the support of the relatives of seven disabled people whose deaths are linked to DWP failings.
“I want all the families of the DWP bereaved to come together, like the Grenfell families and the Hillsborough families, to take action together,” Joy says.
“Look what they have achieved. I hope more families join us.”
Supporting the petition now are Peter Carre, whose disabled son Stephen, from Bedfordshire, took his own life in January 2010 after being found “fit for work”.
Eleanor Donnachie who lost her brother Paul, from Glasgow, to suicide after his disability benefit was removed after he missed a fit for work test.
And Jill Gant, whose son, Mark Wood, from Oxfordshire, starved to death after he was found “fit for work” and lost disability benefits.
David Barr, who says he wants to see former ministers, including Iain Duncan Smith, held accountable for the death of his son, also called David, from Fife, who had a long-standing mental health condition.
Gill Thompson, whose beloved brother David Clapson, from Herts, died after he was unable to keep the fridge that stored his insulin switched on after being sanctioned.
And Susan Roberts, also from Herts, Hayley Storrow-Servranckx’s disabled mother, who took her own life after losing her disability benefits.
“It would be some form of justice for those people who are not here any more and have not got a voice,” Hayley says.
For its part, the DWP says: “We are committed to safeguarding vulnerable claimants and, in the tragic case where someone dies, ensuring we respond swiftly and sensitively.
“And we have robust safeguarding in place to protect and support vulnerable people, including the resource to carry out safeguarding visits.”
But nine years into this failed austerity experiment, there is a growing feeling that no one is accountable.
Secretaries of State come and go, ministers fail and leave.
What began as the Bedroom Tax and cuts to Personal Independence Payments, and the “toughening up” of the Work Capability Assessment and the end of the Independent Living Fund, is now the miserable cruelty of Universal Credit . But no one is ever to blame.
Next week will be the sixth anniversary of the Real Britain column, which began on March 27, 2013.
It was a response to a growing mailbag of distress that had begun arriving at the Mirror’s offices as coalition austerity measures began to bite.
People with severe disabilities suddenly found fit for work. Maternity and A&E closures.
People writing to say that a foodbank was opening in their town for the first time.
We needed a column to deal with the mailbag, but the flood became a deluge.
Six years on, here we are. With a welfare system that emaciated Stephen Smith to the point where he would have starved to death without Liverpool’s CASA community centre.
With a rhetoric against vulnerable people meaning rough sleepers in South Wales get stab-proof sleeping bags.
With mums turning to sex work to feed their kids, and parents bringing toilet paper to school.
With billions of pounds of council cuts still to come, whatever happens with Brexit , and foodbanks at epidemic scale.
Austerity was a political choice. A choice to stand with bankers not the people. And its consequences have come home to roost. In poverty, in populism, in intolerance born of economic fear.
Six years after this column started, things are worse, not better. The postbag is unending. This petition is, finally, about a chance to hold powerful people accountable.
So what do you think?
Tell us in the comments.