Gill Thompson was outside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) yesterday, with a banner of names of people she says have died due to benefit sanctions – including her brother David Clapson.
Three years ago, in July 2013, David was found dead in his flat by his sister. He had £3.44 in his bank account and the electricity had been cut off, hence the insulin he had kept in his fridge to stay alive was useless. He had died from diabetic ketoacidosis – caused by an acute lack of insulin.
The 59-year-old had served as a soldier in Belfast when younger, and found it difficult to get a job. Two weeks before he died, the DWP had sanctioned him for a month after he missed two appointments. His weekly Job Seekers Allowance payments had been stopped.
Gill Thompson presents banner outside DWP of people she claims to have died on benefit sanctions – incl her brother pic.twitter.com/VmLf9AahKr
— Ashley Cowburn (@ashcowburn) March 9, 2016
Jill told the Indy last week:
In my opinion, it [the benefit sanction] was a death sentence.
Now she wants a public inquest into his death and for the DWP to admit they contributed to it.
Over 200,000 people signed a petition calling for an inquiry too.
Today, she announced on her page that she reached the £10,000 target for the fundraiser to build a case against the government.
We are continuing to raise funds towards the stretch target of £20,000 which will cover more of the costs of legal action to secure an Inquest/investigation. If I am unsuccessful, I may need to pursue the matter in Court and reaching my stretched target will allow me to do this and if I am successful, these funds will go to ensuring I have the best chance of ensuring David’s death is fully investigated and action taken to minimise the risk of future deaths from benefit sanctions.
Here’s a video from her protest yesterday.
She said yesterday:
I feel myself, his death could have been prevented. And by doing this, I can’t bring my brother back but it’s the only thing I could do. I’m just hoping this will help other people.
With the money now raised, she’ll be setting her sights squarely on Iain Duncan Smith and his shambolic “reforms”