Text Box: Listed here are a selection from the many who because of the intolerable financial pressure they were put under took their own lives. A sad and lasting testament to  the instigator and the government who created this detested legislation.
Rounded Rectangle: IN MEMORY 
VICTIMS OF THE CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY. 
Text Box: Angela Jones
Daily Express 19 January 1994
The controversial Child Support Agency came under fresh fire last night after another family tragedy.
Mother-of-two Angela Jones was stabbed to death and her estranged husband Terry tried to kill himself.
Detectives questioning him at his hospital bedside yesterday wanted to know if the drama was linked in any way with a massive maintenance demand he had received from the CSA 24 hours earlier.
And there were new demands for a tougher clampdown on the agency’s operations.
Ken Mayo, of the National campaign for Fair Maintenance, said: "The Government must act, Ministers are presiding over a growing catalogue of tragedy. The CSA should be renamed the Child Orphaning Agency. Thousands of people in second marriages are being driven to the edge by it."
Last year father-of-two Graham Clay, 30, a stately home curator hanged himself after the CSA trebled his payments. He left a note saying: "No one will listen. I did my best. All I got was pain".
In the latest incident 40-year-old Mrs Jones was found dead with six stab wounds in the kitchen of her home in Woodham Terrace, Barry, Glamorgan. Neighbours said her body was discovered by 12-year-old son Huw who screamed: "Mummy’s dead."
Huw’s grandmother Violet Edwards opened the garage door and saw Mr Jones, 41, slumped in his fume-filled car. His pockets were full of press cuttings highlighting the injustices of the agency. As he was recovering last night, friends said the £16,000-a-year company fire officer loved Huw and daughter Karla, six, but could not afford higher maintenance.
The CSA said: "we are aware of this case but cannot comment."
Mr Jones, married for 20 years, left his wife after an affair five months ago. His mother said: "They were getting divorced." His close friend Gordon Roberts added: "He would go to the end of the earth for his children. There was never any question of him abandoning them so I don’t understand why the CSA was chasing him."
Angela’s friend Bridget Hall said: "Terry is a dutiful father. He takes the youngsters out. He bought a flat 10 miles away in Whitchurch but I don’t think the other woman has moved in."
The CSA was recently accused of ignoring guidelines by telling divorced mothers how much second wives earn.
In December, after protests from MPs, the Agency’s rules were changed allowing maintenance payments to be phased in over a two-year period
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Brian Gorton
Daily Mirror 18 March 1994
In November, jobless dad Brian Gorton, 42, of Spalding, Lincolnshire, hanged himself after a court doubled his £100 a month payments to his ex-wife.
Derek Atkin
Daily Express 25 March 1994
A 37-year-old civilian working with Humberside police was found dead in his car shortly after the CSA contacted him. A hose pipe was attached to the exhaust.
His mother, Mrs June Atkin, 56, said: "He had been having terrible trouble with the CSA. He told me they were trying to take very penny."
But this week CSA chief executive Ros Hepplewhite denied that her agency had driven the fathers to take their own lives.
She said: "I really do not think that the agency is to blame."
James McKay
Daily Express 25 March 1994
So far five fathers have committed suicide because they could not afford to pay huge demands, say protesters.
The latest victim was 35-year-old Jim Mckay who was found hanged in his council house in Rutherglen, Glasgow, on Saturday.
He had been told to hand over all but £12 of his £39.90 unemployment and sickness benefit to support his two young children.
Mr McKay’s brother, Edward, 39, said: "It is all because he was hounded by the CSA."
Jacqueline Quinn, mother of six-year-old Stacey and James, two, said she and Mr McKay were planning to get back together.
She added: "I have lost my man and my children have lost their father for the sake of a few pounds."
Graeme Lowe
Daily Express 25 March 1994
Graeme Lowe, a 38-year-old technician, gassed himself in his car in Sunderland when he was unable to afford new agency demands.
His father Robert branded the CSA ‘a disgrace’.
Sean Lyford-Smith
Today 29 April 1994
A young father hanged himself after the Child Support Agency said his maintenance payments were to be trebled, an inquest heard yesterday.
A CSA letter found at the flat of Sean Lyford-Smith said his £10 a week voluntary payment was going up to £27.75 – and there were arrears of £578.
West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said the letter would have had a frightening effect on the 23-year-old computer operator.
He is to ‘make representations’ to the agency, after hearing how Mr Lyford-Smith was later reassessed to pay ex-girlfriend Joanne Patey only £12.85 a week for their four-year-old daughter Maria.
Recording a verdict of suicide, the Coroner said: "I can’t help wondering whether I would be sitting here today if the right figures had been arrived at earlier."
A letter confirming the reduction in his payments and arrears would have been sent to Mr Lyford-Smith in March but he was dead.
Stephen Jackson
Daily Mirror 7 May 1994
A verdict of suicide was recorded in November on Birmingham prison worker, Stephen Jackson.
n May of this year Stephen received a CSA demand for £2,500 maintenance arrears and shortly afterwards he took an overdose of sleeping tablets. At the inquest his brave mother, Mrs Lorna Jackson, said: "... the letter from the CSA was on the top of the pile of suicide notes. I feel very bitter."
John Spellar MP (Labour, Warley West) said: "The CSA appears to have no understanding of the devastating effect that massive demands for arrears can have."
The letters Stephen left were addressed to John Major, his mother and father and his children and referred to the anguish he felt at the way the CSA was treating him.
Goolan Hassen
Daily Mail 18 May 1994
A coroner blamed a mistake by the CSA yesterday for triggering a father’s death from an overdose of drink and drugs.
A maintenance demand for £3,000 – three times higher than it should have been – was found beside the body of hospital nurse Goolan Hassen, 55.
"It was the letter that proved the trigger that led to his death," said coroner David Wadman, who recorded a suicide verdict. "It is a sorry state of affairs. Had the true situation been put to him, who knows what would have been?"
Mauritius-born Mr Hassen had split from his wife Brenda, a GP’s receptionist, but they agreed not to involve the CSA as he paid £9,000-a-year for the private education of his nine-year-old son and daughter of 13, an inquest heard at Eastbourne, Sussex.
The £22,000-a-year night nurse at Eastbourne Hospital lived in a rented flat and is understood to have taken on day jobs to pay for his children’s schooling.
The CSA became involved when Mrs Hassen was unemployed for two months and claimed income support. CSA official Colin Oudot said the agency was not required to take into account Mr Hassen’s contribution for schooling.
The letter was generated by computer and sent out automatically but should have demanded only £1,000
Peter Ayres
The Independent 29 May 1994
Peter Ayres, an engineer from Longthorpe in Gloucestershire apparently decided he could take no more, having received the usual ‘pay up or else’ threatening letters from the CSA. It’s reported that he wired up his wrists to a high voltage circuit, threw a switch and electrocuted himself.
Alan Creeton
Daily Telegraph 4 August 1994
A married executive who was secretly paying maintenance for an illegitimate baby killed himself after receiving a letter from the Child Support Agency and fearing he was about to be exposed, a Southampton inquest heard yesterday.
Mr Alan Creeton, 41, drove to a remote part of the New Forest and gassed himself inside his car the day after he received a CSA assessment and realised his wife, Christine, would find out about the baby, born as a result of a brief and ‘purely sexual’ affair.
He had been paying £20 a week to the baby’s mother, but the CSA became involved last month and wrote to Mr Creeton, an area manager for a hotel chain, the inquest heard. His wife said later: "He died to keep a secret."
On the day he received the letter, he sought immediate legal advice on the payments and whether he could keep the matter from his wife. But when he was told that all other CSA documents would be sent to his home, he told a trainee legal executive: "Maybe I should commit suicide."
The next day he went to see his wife at a sports centre where she worked and his teenage daughter, Stephanie, before leaving a farewell letter on a coffee table at their home in Ladysmith, Christchurch, Dorset, adding: "The last two years have been hell. By the time you read this, I will be dead."
Mrs Creeton, who had often quizzed him on why they never had enough money for a holiday, told the inquest that she knew he had been having an affair with a colleague called April Gray, but knew nothing of the baby which resulted from another relationship.
"I was not aware of any problem that would have led him to kill himself," she told Mr Christopher Hodgkinson, deputy coroner.
Miss Louise Powell, the trainee legal executive Mr Creeton consulted on July 25, said he told her he had been named as the father of a child by the CSA.
"He asked how much he would have to pay," said Miss Powell. "He took away a self-assessment form. He’d asked the woman to have an abortion, but she had not. His records showed payments to her of £20 a week over the last year.
"He asked if he could keep it from his wife, but I told him that the CSA would send the details to his home. As he left my office, he said maybe he should commit suicide. I said that nothing was that bad."
When police found Mr Creeton’s body in his car, there were photographs of his wife and daughter on the passenger seat.
Mr Hodgkinson recorded a verdict of suicide.
Malcolm Taylor
The Independent 6 August 1994
A loving husband died in his fume-filled car after he was forced to leave his second wife because of demands from the Child Support Agency, an inquest heard yesterday.
The inquest at Cannock, Staffs, was told that Mr Malcolm Taylor, 34, formerly of Coalpit Lane, Brereton, Staffs, became depressed after the CSA started to investigate his affairs and bombarded him with letters about his first wife.
He was found dead in his car surrounded by letters from the CSA. A hose pipe led from the exhaust into the vehicle.
His second wife, Mrs Lyn Taylor, said in a statement that she and her husband had enjoyed a happy marriage until he started to receive letters from the CSA about nine weeks before his death. The letters had worried and depressed him.
"Eventually, they suggested it was in his interest to leave his second wife and live elsewhere so that his state benefits would not be affected. He agreed to do this, but became increasingly depressed."
Mr Reginald Browning, the South Staffordshire Coroner, recorded an open verdict after being told that Mr Taylor had appeared to be his usual self shortly before his death. Mr Browning said there was no evidence as to what was in his mind at the time.
A spokesman for the CSA said: "The reasons why anyone takes his own life are complex. It is not appropriate for the CSA to comment on individual cases."
Linda Greener
 Daily Telegraph 3 September 1994
 Miss Linda Greener, 30, a business studies student of Cheadle, Staffs, died from a drugs overdose in July 1994.
Mr Stephen Baldwin, her common-law husband, blamed the CSA for hounding him. He said: " She seemed to blame herself for our problem because she was not out earning money."
Angela Jenkinson,       Vincent Hand
The Times, 19 September 1994
Detective Constable Vincent Hand, married and aged 31, strangled his seven months pregnant mistress, Angela Jenkinson and then gassed himself in his own car. According to reports the tragedy occurred following Ms Jenkinson’s threat to contact the CSA after the baby was born. Later DNA testing revealed that Hand was not in fact the father of the child.
This is believed to be the second occasion where murder (or at least attempted murder) and a suicide have occurred simultaneously as a result of threatened CSA involvement.
Steve Willey
Daily Mail 28 October 1994
A fireman involved in a long and bitter dispute with the Child Support Agency has been found hanged.
Colleagues discovered Steve Willey, 45, dead at his home after he failed to turn up for duty.
Close friend Jan Kopec, 52, said Mr Willey had told him payments to his ex-wife, by whom he had a ten-year-old son, had trebled to £90 a week since the CSA had become involved.
It is understood that at a divorce hearing last week Mr Willey was ordered to pay a total of £50,000 in maintenance – although it is not known at what rate this is to be paid.
Another friend said: "With everything that had gone on with the CSA, the court case was the last straw. He had put his house up for sale to try to pay the money."
Sub-officer Peter Isaacs, Mr Willey’s chief on Red Watch at Christchurch, Dorset, said: "He was deeply unhappy about the way the CSA treated him and said they were delving into every aspect of his financial affairs. He felt very aggrieved and was depressed by it. He would say the CSA wanted 11/10ths of everything."
Brian Taylor, of Dorset NACSA, said: "This is a tragic case which shows how desperately needed major changes to the agency are."
A CSA spokesman said: "It is always a matter of great sadness if someone takes their life but we cannot know all the circumstances that may have led to it."
An inquest will be held.
Clive Cass
Evening Argus October 1994
A hard-up father worried about the Child Support Agency was found dead at a Sussex beauty spot, an inquest heard.
Clive Cass was found floating in a pool along the Cuckoo Trail, a mile from his terraced house in Harebeating Drive, Horsebridge, near Hailsham.
A post-mortem showed he probably drowned. Mr Cass’s brother, Colin, of Howlett Drive, Hailsham, said the unemployed builder was worried about a letter he had received from the Child Support Agency in April.
But at the time of his death on October 25 the agency had dropped the maintenance request and he owed no money. Mr Cass said: "He’d been divorced for 15 years and had a daughter. A few months before he had received a letter from the CSA. He was worried about it. He was also worried about his health and was convinced he was dying. There was nothing wrong with him as far as I knew. He had met a girl and was happy. He had used all his savings and was worried about that."
Coroner David Wadman recorded an open verdict. Yesterday’s inquest was the second in Sussex where the CSA has been accused of playing a part in a dads death.
In April, Goolam Hassen, 53, was found dead at his flat at the Goffs, Eastbourne, with a letter from the CSA on the table in front of him. He had taken a lethal cocktail of drink and drugs after reading the demand for £3,000 in back payment, three times more than he actually owed.
After Mr Hassen’s death the CSA said it would try harder to make sure it did not send incorrect demands to fathers.
Stuart Holloway
The Independent 25 November 1994
Stuart Holloway, father of a three-year-old boy, was found dead in a fume-filled car shortly after receiving cash demands from the CSA.
Stuart, aged 23 from Sandwell Valley, West Bromwich told his girlfriend, Sarah Horton, that the agency could "stuff the money". He went on a two-day spending spree and then killed himself.
Jason Game
Cambridgeshire Town Crier 17 December 1994
A man found hanging in the Coneygeare area of Eynesbury last month killed himself while suffering from depression.
Jason Anthony Game (28) of Philip Garden, Eynesbury, was found hanging from a tree on the morning of Monday, November 21.
An inquest at Huntingdon on Tuesday was told that at the time of his death he was divorcing his wife and had debts to clear.
He was also receiving letters from the Child Support Agency. Mr Game had been married twice before and had three children. His girlfriend, Anita Rendell-Read, said: "He was always kind but in the last few weeks he had been quiet and had been ignoring letters from the CSA. His biggest problem was with his children. He always wanted to do the right thing by them but he was constantly battling with ‘red tape’. Why could the CSA not see that?"
She also told the inquest that on the day he died he got up to go to work as usual. However, he did not take his work boots or his bike from the garage. When told of his death, she discovered there was a length of blue nylon rope missing from the garage, which he had used to hang himself.
His body was found by a policeman near to the river bank in Eynesbury. Pc Ian Simmons, based at St Neots, told the inquest: "I saw a body hanging from a tree and there was a blue length of nylon rope around his neck. I searched the area but did not find a suicide note."
Deputy coroner, Dr Colin Latimer, said: "For some period of time Mr Game was under pressure and became withdrawn and depressed. It is quite clear to me that he killed himself while suffering from depression."
A post-mortem found that the cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation with a ligature.
Garrett Williams
Leicester Mercury March 1995
A father killed himself the day after a flare up with his girlfriend on St Valentine’s Day, a Leicester inquest heard. Mr Garrett Williams (37) had been arguing with her over money for their children and matters came to a head when he received a letter from the Child Support Agency.
Mr Williams, of Peter’s Road, Leicester, took his own life on February 15 this year by tying electrical cord round his throat.
He left two suicide notes and the inquest heard that he had been suffering from depression. The cause of death was given as a ligature round the neck and assistant coroner Mr Michael Charman recorded a verdict of suicide.
Mark Corkish
Scottish Daily Record 17 April 1995
 A mother yesterday accused the Child Support Agency of hounding her son to his death.
Mark Corkish, who became a father at 14, was found dead in his flat after taking a lethal cocktail of pills and weedkiller.
Just hours earlier, 24-year-old Mark gave his kids Lee, nine, and Cherelle, six, his last six pounds.
He told them: "I want the two of you to have this because where I’m going I won’t be needing it."
 The children’s mum, Wendy Allen, said they used the money to buy her an Easter egg.
Mark’s mum, 57-year-old Agnes Corkish, sobbed: "It was a needless death. If they’d never cut his giro. I’d still have my boy today."
Mark, who was found dead in Edinburgh last Wednesday, received £72 a fortnight Income Support but his benefit was cut after he left a training course because he was embarrassed about his dyslexia.
Then the Child Support Agency clawed back a further £10, leaving him just £21.50 a week to live on.
Wendy, of Leith, said: "I never saw any of the money the CSA took from Mark. They didn’t need to do it that way, anyway. "Mark always gave the kids what he could, even if it was only 50p."
A spokesman for the CSA said he couldn’t comment on individual cases. But he added: "The CSA is always willing to discuss any worries people may have about their case if they contact us. Its a matter of great sadness when someone takes their own life but we can’t know all the circumstances which may have led to it."
The CSA have been credited with causing a string of suicides. Nine men have killed themselves since the agency was set up in 1993.
John Rudden
Scottish Daily Record 17 April 1995
  ... all we know is that, last year, John Rudden, of Rutherglen, threw himself off a bridge over the M74 and that only this month Mark Corkish from Leith in Edinburgh swallowed a cocktail of pills and weedkiller and killed himself. Both were reported to be having severe problems with the Child Support Agency.
Anthony Clemson
Shropshire Star 25 April 1995
The CSA has been blamed by a family for the death of a midlands man. Father-of-two Anthony Clemson of Wolverhampton killed himself because he faced a staggering demand for money from the Child Support Agency. He was found hanging in London the day after receiving a letter ordering him to pay £105 a week maintenance to his estranged wife.
He faced the demand because delays in handling the case had run up arrears of nearly £8,000. Today his mother said she believed the CSA had pushed him too far: "Anthony would be alive today if it hadn’t been for them," said 47-year-old Mrs Theresa Clemson of Shelley Road, Fordhouses.
Mr Clemson lived there with his parents after separating from his wife Helen. He saw his daughters Sheryl, six, and Toni, four, at least once a week. "He bought them clothes and things and took them out and into town, and made sure they didn’t want for anything," said his mother.
She said the separation was acrimonious and he preferred to buy the girls things rather than pay maintenance through his wife. Mrs Clemson said that her son took home £173 a week from his job and paid her £25 board.
Mr Clemson who was found hanged on April 9, was buried at Bushbury Cemetery on 24 April 1995.
An inquest has been opened, with the cause of death given as hanging. A CSA spokeswoman said the agency never commented on individual cases.
Brian Smith
Today & The Telegraph 13 May 1995
A prison officer killed himself because he could not pay £150 a week to the CSA which ignored letters from his former wife stating categorically she did not need the money.
Brian Smith, 42, the father of three teenage daughters, was found on a settee at his home in Whitchurch, Cardiff, with empty pill bottles strewn on the floor. A note next to his body said: "To whom it may concern, I am just about fed up with being here. I just can’t take any more. I just feel so alone and isolated."
His ex-wife, Gaynor, said he had been paying her £33 every week and covering their mortgage before the Child Support Agency became involved. "I didn’t want any more money from Brian. We were more than happy with what he had been paying. I even wrote to the CSA telling them I didn’t want the money but I heard nothing from them."
Eight months after his death the family received a letter offering to lower the payment.
An inquest heard that Mr Smith was unable to pay his household bills on top of the CSA demands and was left £7 short every week.
His cousin, Howard Cotter, said: "The CSA did have a bearing on his death – even they have admitted that to me. If the CSA hadn’t hounded him so much, he would still be alive."
Michael Aston
Daily Express 26 July 1995
A father-of-seven killed himself after getting a bill for more than £10,000 from the Child Support Agency. An inquest heard that Michael Aston, 48 was found dead in his fume-filled car a day after getting the maintenance arrears demand. He had been told to pay £150 a week for three children from a previous marriage. He had previously paid £3.50 a week per child.
But the bill was an interim figure because Mr Aston, of Birmingham, had not properly completed a form stating he was unemployed, the city hearing heard. The arrears could have been written off if he had.
Gardner Clifford Peacock
Basingstoke Gazette 18 August 1995
A Hampshire father gassed himself in his car because he could not cope crippling financial demands from the Child Support Agency, an inquest heard. Gardener Clifford Peacock, aged 34, drove to a secluded beauty spot after receiving a letter from the CSA telling him to increase his maintenance. He connected a hose pipe to the exhaust of his Vauxhall Nova and fed it through a window with the engine still running.
Mr Peacock’s fiancee, Barbara Williams, said he was having difficulty finding the money to pay his ex-wife, who looked after their children. He took on more and more work in an effort to meet payments. She said: "He was becoming more and more angry about it."
The jury was told that in June this year, Mr Peacock, of Worting, near Basingstoke, packed all his belongings and left the home he shared with Miss Williams. Eight days later he was found dead in his car at Abbotstone Down, Alresford.
Mid Hants Coroner Graham Short recorded a verdict of suicide. He said: "The final pressure which caused him to take his life was the maintenance he had to pay and the future must have appeared very bleak."
Michael Horner
Bedfordshire on Sunday 27 August 1995
Demands for cash from the Child Support Agency caused a Clifton (near Bedford) man to commit suicide. Michael Horner had become deeply depressed because he was unable to meet large maintenance payments ordered by the agency for the upkeep of a child from a previous marriage. His decomposed
corpse was found in a car at Langford on Monday 21 August. A hose pipe had been attached to the exhaust.
Mr Horner, a caterer, had been missing from his home for two days. He lived with his second wife Pauline and despite making an amicable settlement with his ex-wife in court, the CSA plagued him with demands for vastly increased maintenance payments. Speaking before his funeral his wife said: "The CSA was a big factor in his death. He’s dead now and nothing is going to bring him back."
A CSA spokesman said: "The CSA is always willing to discuss any worries people have about their cases if they contact us. It’s a matter of great sadness when anybody takes his own life but we can’t know all the circumstances which may have led to it. Like any other organisation responsible for enforcing legal or financial responsibilities, the agency sometimes has to enter peoples lives with news that might well add to their existing problems. We make every effort to ensure that such legal liabilities are dispatched accurately."
Philip Mitchell
Jonathan Mitchell
Cathryn Mitchell
Jessica Mitchell
Christopher Mitchell
Manchester Evening News, The Sentinel, 30 September - 2 October 1995
The mother of four children who died alongside their father in a fume-filled car said her ex-husband, Philip, had been beset with crippling financial problems.
But Linda Mitchell said he had just received a demand for £2,800 from the Child Support Agency and ordered to pay £51.10 a week maintenance within days.
"He was very quiet and subdued. There was the gradual build-up of debts and the final statement was the last straw," said Mrs Mitchell.
She and the children also faced losing their home at Rudheath, Northwich, Cheshire, because of mortgage arrears.
Friends of Philip said: "Money was the problem and the CSA demand was the final straw.
Philip Mitchell (36) worked as a machine operator for Ilford Films while at night he cleaned on the industrial estate at Middlewich where his fume-filled car was found. He was discovered slumped in the driver’s seat and with him were his children, Jonathan, Cathryn, Christopher and Jessica. They were wearing their new school uniforms and toffees bought for them by their father were scattered on the floor. A hose led from the exhaust pipe and the engine was still running.
Philip Mitchell had rented a housing association flatlet to be nearer to his children and had secretly taken on the second job in an attempt to pay off the CSA.
He had divorced his wife after 15 years of marriage but always saw the children regularly and would baby-sit when his ex-wife went out.
"He thought the world of the kids and despite the debts he still treated them the same way – as if money problems were not there," said a tearful Mrs Mitchell. "He had just spent £140 on school uniforms and £100 on shoes. This was his way of saying he thought the world of the kids and loved them."
The four children were buried in the graveyard of St Helen’s Church, under a Hawthorn tree yards from their school playing field in Northwich, Cheshire.
Assistant curate the Rev Philip Wain called the tragedy "incomprehensible". He told the 500 mourners that words could not "scratch the surface of the depth of shock we all feel".
Some of the dead children’s classmates at Church Walk Primary School were in tears as they left the service. So many have been deeply disturbed that head teacher and Mr Wain toured the school trying to put their minds at rest.
Several pupils have asked teachers: "Could my daddy ever do that to me?"
A CSA spokeswoman said the Agency is always willing to discuss people’s worries and that it’s a matter of great sadness when anyone takes their own life.
Peter Staffieri
Barrow Evening Mail October 1995
A Barrow policeman killed himself when pressure from the CSA got too much for him, an inquest heard. Coroner Ian Smith recorded a verdict of suicide on Detective Constable Staffieri (38) who was found hanging in the garage of his home.
Mrs Angela Staffieri, the dead man’s wife, said he was in constant contact with the CSA and the heavy payments he had to make to support his children "made his life a misery".
Mr and Mrs Staffieri have two children of their own but he was also making payments to the two children from his previous marriage. Mrs Staffieri said her husband received a letter from the CSA saying he could reduce his payments by £40. He took this to mean £40 a week but on the day he died, August 1, he had a second letter which said it was £40 a month.
It was the final straw, Mrs Staffieri said: "He felt he was banging his head against a brick wall. He said he was fed up trying to sort it out. He felt he could not make ends meet because of the amounts the CSA were asking for. When he received the second letter he said there was nothing we could do and he said he was going to move in with a friend and try to support me – he felt that was the only way. I went to settle the children down and when I came downstairs I felt something was wrong. Everything was locked up... that’s when I found him."
The coroner said: "He had financial difficulties and felt the CSA were making his life a misery. He didn’t feel he was getting anywhere. The second letter caused him great distress and was the final straw. It’s clear beyond any doubt that he intended to take his own life."
Joshua Skerton
Plymouth Evening Herald, 24 November 1995
A distraught Plymouth father who killed one son and tried to kill the other in a bungled suicide attempt was jailed for five years at Plymouth Crown Court on 21 November 1994 after admitting the manslaughter of two-year-old Joshua and the grievous bodily harm of Samuel aged four.
The Court heard that little Joshua died after his father, Wayne Skerton, drove him and Sam to Dartmoor on March 23, attached a hose pipe to the exhaust and fed it into his Ford Sierra car.
Skerton had planned that all three would die together but the engine overheated and stalled. All three were given specialist treatment at Fort Bovisland Diving Diseases Research Centre but Joshua suffered brain damage and died a few days later.
Mrs Skerton said she could not come to terms with the fact that the man she had loved since she was 14 could have harmed their two sons. "I know he loved them and they loved their daddy too. But you don’t do this to people you love, no matter how bad you are feeling," she said. Wayne split with his wife and left the family home in Brixton earlier in the year. But he couldn’t come to terms with it and was under pressure from the CSA.
Detective Inspector Stuart Newberry said the judge had had a difficult job to decide on the right sentence.
Graham Clay
Daily Express 7 December 1995
A stately home’s curator killed himself after the Child Support Agency more than doubled his maintenance payments, his family said yesterday.
Police called to Newstead Abbey, near Nottingham, found Graham Clay, 31, hanging from a staircase, surrounded by papers the family said were documents and letters about payments ordered by the government body.
The day before he died, Mr Clay had received a letter from the agency asking for payments to his ex-wife and two children of £252 a month out of £500 income after tax. He had previously agreed on £100 a month with his former wife, Wendy. The couple were married 12 years ago and the divorce was finalised two months ago.
The body was found on Saturday in the entrance hall of the home of Lord Byron, where Mr Clay had been head guide. According to relatives he left a note blaming the agency.
After the £252 assessment in August, he had visited his ex-wife and children and, according to a family friend, had given no indication that he was planning suicide. His former wife had apparently offered to return much of the extra maintenance because she thought the award unfair.
Mr Clay had been renting a room in Mapperley, Nottingham, from his aunt, Josie Clay, 55, who said yesterday: "He was devastated... It left him no money to start the new life he had been longing for or to buy Christmas presents for his children."
Last week an inquest in Boston, Lincolnshire, heard how Brian Gorton, 42, a draughtsman hanged himself after the CSA doubled his maintenance payments to £200 a month when his former wife separated from a second husband.
David Harmsworth
Sussex Evening Argus 21/22 December 1995
A father of four killed himself while under pressure from the controversial Child Support Agency, an inquest heard. David Harmsworth aged 45, of Coldean, Brighton, was found dead on November 20. He was discovered in his van parked at the Braypool sports ground in Patcham, by a man taking his dog for a walk. A hose was taped from the exhaust. A postmortem revealed that he died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Mr Harmsworth, a plumber and former driving instructor, had been suffering from depression. The inquest heard that he left letters that made it clear he intended to take his own life.
His sister , Katerina Steele, from Lancing, told the Brighton hearing he had financial problems and owed money to the CSA for two children he no longer saw.
She said: "He had the CSA after him for money. Last December he said he owed £2,000. He was not allowed to see his two youngest children, which upset him dreadfully."
His former fiancee, Tracy Simmons, from Portslade, said he had been suffering depression for some time. She said: "The Child Support Agency were asking for an unfair amount of money which he did not have. The assessment was unfair because it did not leave him enough to live on."
East Sussex coroner, Dr Donald Gooding, who recorded a verdict of suicide, told the hearing he had contacted the CSA but the Agency had declined to comment on the case as the information was covered by the Data Protection Act. He said: "This is a sad story. He clearly had a number of problems, both financial and domestic. I have no evidence the CSA assessment was unreasonable."
A spokesperson from the Brighton and Worthing branch of NACSA said: "This latest tragedy brings the total to 36 wasted lives in the last two years. It cannot keep going on like this. People are under intolerable stress. The pressure really does drag you down. These deaths are not just isolated incidents. The CSA has been the main factor in most of these deaths."
A spokesman for the Agency said: "The reasons why people choose to commit suicide are many and complicated. Anybody who has problems with payments should talk to the Agency which is always willing to try to come to some sort of arrangement."
Alex Nicholson
Sussex Evening Argus 21/22 December 1995
Former village bobby, Alex Nicholson aged 36, who once attacked the CSA because of the financial pressure it was placing him under, was found dead last month. Mr Nicholson was discovered in Germany after going missing from his home in Cuckfield, near Haywards Heath.
Tony Cummings
Runcorn Weekly News March 1996
A soldier being pursued by the Child Support Agency was found hanging in his bedroom, an inquest at Warrington heard.
Kingsman Tony Cummings had been contacted by the CSA after a woman claimed he was the father of her child, the inquest was told. Mr Cummings, aged 22, of Greebridge Road, Runcorn, was found by his mother hanging from a hook in his bedroom while on leave.
The inquest heard that Mr Cummings had been seeing a girl for two years and was very happy. But then he had a ‘one night stand’ with another woman.
He joined the army soon after and split up with his girlfriend. But the other woman then began to contact him claiming he was the father of her child.
He attended an interview with the CSA with his father and afterwards seemed to be very depressed and unhappy.
While on leave he had seemed fairly cheerful and had been out drinking with his father. He returned home and went upstairs. A short time later his mother went up to turn his stereo off and found him hanging from a metal hook in the ceiling with pictures and old letters from his girlfriend.
A fellow soldier, Stephen Birchall, said: "Tony was worried about the amount of money he would have to pay to the CSA."
Alan Grantham
Rochdale Express 7 June 1996
A father-of-two who was found dead in a fume filled car outside his Heywood girlfriend’s home was being pursued by the Child Support Agency. Police discovered several payment demands from the CSA strewn about the Ford Orion car in which Alan Grantham was found slumped. A pipe had been fixed from the inside to the exhaust.
Before he died Mr Grantham, aged 39, had left a lengthy message on his girlfriend’s answerphone. Police are now examining both the papers and the message.
At an inquest in Rochdale this week deputy coroner Dennis Everett did not disclose the contents of the tape. But he added: "Papers from the CSA for monies outstanding were found in the car."
Policewoman Dorothy Orr said she found the vehicle parked near a school with its engine running around 1:20 am on Monday, 6 May, in Magdala Street, Heywood. There were four people in the middle of the road near the car when she arrived.
In a statement she said: "A piece of black plastic piping had been found running from the exhaust into the car. There was also smoke billowing out of the car’s open doors. The piping lay in the road by the time I arrived."
WPc Orr saw Mr Grantham in the driver’s seat, which was reclined. His eyes were closed. She called an ambulance and checked Mr Grantham for a pulse, but found none. Police later called at the terraced home of Miss Lyndsey Scholes, the dead man’s girlfriend. She gave the police a tape from her telephone answering machine.
The Network Against the Child Support Act has collected a dossier of over a dozen men who they claim have committed suicide because of cash demands from the CSA.
Nigel Ryan
South Wales Argus 28 June 1996
The CSA came under fire from Gwent coroner Mr David Bowen yesterday, for causing the death of a young father from Chepstow, whose body was found in his fume-filled car. He said notes left by Nigel Ryan, of Wyedean, made it clear that letters from the CSA and a court appearance due the following week, were the triggers for his actions.
He went on: "For some months prior to his death he had needed psychiatric help, which he refused. That mental condition was in no small part brought about by demands from the CSA.
He recorded a verdict at the Abergavenny inquest that 36-year-old Mr Ryan, who had married just twelve months earlier, had killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed.
At the inquest, Mrs Sandra Ryan said her husband, who worked as a steelworker, had needed psychiatric help for six months before his death because he felt everyone was against him and he dreaded going to work.
"I tried to persuade him to go to the doctor but he refused and asked me to go for him and get a sick note, so he did not have to go to work," she said.
"He had received a letter from the CSA asking him to appear in court, then another letter adjourned the hearing until the Thursday after his death. I was concerned about the effect this appearance might have on him. It had been playing on his mind for some time."
She said he left for work on April 19 but she received a phone call from his colleagues later that day to say he had not turned up for work.
Mr Bowen said Ryan’s body was found in his fume filled car in Wentwood Forest the following morning and he had letters in the vehicle relating to the CSA. After the inquest, Krys Simmonds, press officer for the CSA, said the agency was not asked to give evidence at the inquest but was fully prepared to do so and believed their evidence may have helped.
"The agency sometimes enter’s peoples lives with news that may add to their existing problems. It is a matter of great sadness when anyone takes their own life but we cannot know all the circumstances which may have led to it."
Robert McWhirter
unknown
Robert McWhirter from Rutherglen killed himself at the end of 1995. He had been in regular contact with the CSA in Falkirk and in the latter days had pleaded with them to allow him time to get his financial affairs in order. However, the officer he spoke to refused to give him any leeway. McWhirter told him bluntly he couldn’t go on like this and that if the CSA wouldn’t stop pressuring him he’d commit suicide.
The CSA officer in Falkirk retorted: "Be sure to tell us first who your executors are." A few days later he was dead.
At the time of the incident the CSA officer concerned was on his second warning for similar behaviour of this kind. He still works at Falkirk CSAC.
Leslie Pearson
Citizen on Sunday April 1997
Visitors to Furzton Lake failed to spot a man hanging in a tree until mid-afternoon, where he had been since the early hours of the morning. Even police who had visited the lake’s car park earlier in the day to investigate a car with the keys let in the ignition – later discovering it was the dead man’s car – failed to spot him.
An inquest on Thursday heard 39-year-old Leslie Pearson of Bletchley seemed to have planned the hanging on March 1 this year, telling his stepdaughter and her young children the night before it will all be over in seven hours. But she hadn’t taken him seriously, even though he had mentioned he would use the tow rope from the car because he was so drunk and could hardly stand up.
Mr Pearson a printer’s assistant who had left his wife Sue six weeks earlier, had given up his job the day before. Mrs Pearson told Milton Keynes Coroner Rodney Corner she believed her husband of seven years would come back to her eventually.
The inquest heard Mr Pearson had bank debts of more than £1,000 and he owed money to the Child Support Agency for payments to two teenage children from a former relationship.
William Pigg
Daily Express 13 May 1997
A father stabbed to death his former wife’s husband in a frenzied attack after the Child Support Agency seized over half his wages, the Old Bailey heard on Monday. John Reid, 54, confronted William Pigg on the doorstep of his home hours after receiving a demand for £206 a month maintenance from his gross salary of £560.
Orlando Pownall, prosecuting, said Reid pulled an eight inch knife and stabbed Mr Pigg 10 times in the head, arm and body screaming: "Die you bastard, die". Mr Pigg, 30, died shortly afterwards. In 1996, the CSA had asked Reid for £13 a week in maintenance for his 13-year-old daughter. Reid, of Hampton, Middlesex, who denies murder, then telephoned the CSA and said: "This situation could have a very, very tragic outcome."
He quit his £23,000 a year job as a Heathrow Airport supervisor and later took a part-time job and sold his home for £46,000 giving his former wife half. He was £1,000 in arrears with maintenance, and had declared himself bankrupt, when he learnt that a deduction of £206 was being made from his wages. When he saw it he told a colleague. "I do not believe this – they are robbing me."
Reid later told police: "The CSA said my payments had increased because I was homeless. I went to talk to Mr Pigg to see if he would give me some money. He started shouting and saying terrible things about my marriage. He hit me a glancing blow. I hoped that if I poked him he would stop."
Evening Standard 20 may 1997
A father who said he was driven to kill by the CSA when they began taking almost half his wages, was found not guilty of murder today. John Reid, 54, was convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of provocation and jailed for seven years for killing his former wife’s new husband.
The court was told that Mr Pigg had badgered the CSA to increase payments for his 13-year-old daughter Stephanie. The agency, learning Reid was homeless, reasoned he would have more money available to pay his ex-wife.
David Piggott
Unknown, July 1997
A mother has blamed the CSA for her son’s suicide and is calling on the Government to have the organisation abolished.
Junette Piggott’s son David, 33, of Wrexham, took an overdose after falling £6,000 in arrears while waiting for the CSA to deal with his case.
"They killed him as surely as if they had put a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger," she said as she left an inquest on Wednesday. Wiping away tears, Mrs Piggott said officials had not listened to repeated pleas for help.
The Wrexham hearing was told that before the CSA become involved, the conscientious welder, who liked to pay up on the dot, made regular payments under a court order for his ex-girlfriends eight-year-old daughter. But his income dropped from £1,600 a month to £1,100 and he telephoned and wrote to the CSA asking for new assessment to match his reduced earnings. He said the delay was pushing him into debt.
Producing a file of letters he had written, his new partner Lynne Hughes said he was worried about arrears. Then he was sent a £6,000 bill which he could not pay. "He was willing to pay," she said, "but when that huge bill came he was devastated." By reading an agency booklet he became convinced he had only to pay arrears for six months but the words were misleading and, in fact, he had to meet payments for 18 months.
He was so worried he could not sleep at night and he saw his doctor. On November 24 he went missing after being out with a friend for a drink and his body was found three days later in woods outside the town.
Leslie Moorcroft, senior manager of the CSA’s Birkenhead office, said pressure of work had prevented staff dealing with MR Piggott’s assessment more quickly or writing to him to explain the delay. "It is regrettable," he said, and agreed with North-East Wales Coroner John Hughes that the leaflet was poorly worded and capable of giving the wrong impression that only six months arrears must be paid.
 Recording a verdict of suicide the Coroner said: "The consequence of your failure to explain his arrears is that he has taken his own life. You should use words as clear as crystal."
He went on: "I think it is a matter of public knowledge that there have been other incidents where persons have found themselves under pressure to pay through the CSA and there have been previous inquests involving the agency."
CSA spokeswoman Kris Symmonds said for the CSA that all literature was under review. "We shall consider the coroner’s recommendations as soon as possible," she said.
Aubrey Scott
Reading Chronicle 5 June 1998
A Reading man who told friends the Child Support Agency was "after him" died after hurling himself from a bridge onto the M4 motorway an inquest heard this week.
Friend and workmate Gary Hart said Mr Scott phoned him the previous Sunday saying he had ‘messed up’ and was going to spend his last money on a beer.
Mr Hart found out from BT that he had called from a payphone in Berkeley Avenue and drove there, finding him sitting on the railway bridge with his legs dangling over the IDR.
He talked Mr Scott down and took him to his mother’s house, and he added: "He didn’t say much, but he said the CSA was after him and that he wanted to get back with his wife."
At 10.30 am the following Saturday, March 28, Whitley mechanic Steven Raymond saw Mr Scott standing on the bridge over the M4 on the Shinfield Road, near the Black Boy pub.
Mr Raymond said: "As I got by the side of him he bent his legs and jumped."
He died from head and neck injuries and, recording a suicide verdict, Reading coroner Dr Joe Pim said: "We’ve heard he was in a state over finances and accommodation and there had been a similar episode a week earlier.
"I have no doubt that Aubrey did this on purpose."
Andrew Pinch
Lancashire Evening Telegraph 27 August 1998
A man involved in a long-running dispute with the Child Support Agency hanged himself after a night out.
An inquest into the death of Andrew Pinch, 25, of Whalley Road, Clitheroe, heard that on the day of his death £203 had been deducted from his pay of £293.
Flat mate Steven Cudworth, now of Riverside, Clitheroe, had discovered the body hanging by a plastic coated bicycle padlock chain from a bannister.
He had been out with Andrew and other friends at a 21st birthday party. Andrew had left before them after a minor altercation with another friend, Gareth Wareing, of Moorland Crescent, Clitheroe.
In a statement read to the inquest Mr Wareing said Andrew had seemed a bit down.
"He asked me if I believed in life after death and said he would prove it to everyone that there was life after death," said Mr Wareing.
Justin Townson, a colleague at Ultraframe, in Clitheroe, said Andrew was concerned about the amount of money the Child Support Agency was taking from his wage and about the fact that he was not seeing a lot of his three year old son.
"We were sitting in his front room and he turned round and said "I should kill myself" said Mr Townson.
The inquest heard that Andrew had taken three months unpaid leave from work and gone to visit friends in Australia. When he returned in May, there were arrears in his child support payments. His supervisor at work, Michael Stewart, said that after his return Andrew had struggled to come to terms with new working methods and his problems had eventually led to disciplinary procedure.
"He had this problem with the Child Support Agency and we had talked about the shares he would be able to cash in October," said Mr Stewart.
Coroner Andre Rebello read a case history provided by the Child Support Agency which suggested that Andrew had not responded when case review forms were issued.
On May 26, ten days before he died, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau had contacted the agency on his behalf and said that he had made a lump sum payment to his child’s mother before he went to Australia.
The agency said he should put the facts in writing but they never received anything. Mr Rebello recorded a verdict that Andrew killed himself.
Gary Ashton
Sheffield Star 22 October 1998
A divorced father-of-two found dead in his fume filled car blamed his own death on the Child Support Agency.
Caretaker Gary Ashton, 33, drove his Ford Escort into a garage, pulled down the roller door, attached a hose to the exhaust pipe, fed it through the car window then locked himself inside and started the engine.
His body was found next day by a close friend concerned that he had not been seen at his flat in Harold Lambert Court, Hyde Park.
Police officers who attended the scene found an envelope addressed to his father and sisters on the dashboard. In it was a note in which Gary begged his family not to blame girlfriend Rachael Smith for his death.
She left him just weeks before resentful that he had to pay almost £300 a month to his ex-wife towards the upkeep of his children Nathan, eight, and Danika, seven, according to Sheffield coroner Chris Dorries.
At an inquest into the tragedy details of the apparent suicide note were read out. The letter said: "The CSA is killing me, don't blame Rachael. It's not down to her."
The Star understands that Gary's former wife Carol wrote to the agency before his death urging them to cut the amount he had to pay.
"Gary was a good dad, he loved the kids and saw them most weekends. He gave them every thing he could afford, but the CSA were asking him to pay too much and it was getting him down," said Carol.
His father, Jack Ashton, of Ravenscroft Avenue, Stradbroke, has also written to the agency blaming them for Gary's death.
Mr Ashton said, "I am convinced that the way they hounded him led him to what he did.
"I wrote to tell them that this time they had struck gold - but they haven't even had the decency to reply to me."
The inquest into Gary's death will resume next week. The CSA has declined to comment until Mr Dorries records his verdict.
Sheffield Star 29 October 1998
Child Support Agency bosses have ordered an investigation after a father-of-two killed himself - and blamed his death on them. Officials from the controversial agency have written to the family of Gary Ashton promising to launch an investigation into his death. But Gary’s father, Jack, said nothing could make up for the loss of his son.
"They’re just fobbing us off," he said. "I know they’re to blame and nothing they say will make up for that."
Recording a verdict that Mr Ashton took his own life Coroner Chris Dorries said a number of factors may have been responsible. He said: "It is quite apparent that Mr Ashton had a number of problems facing him. In all respects this was a particularly sad case."
A spokesman from the CSA declined to comment on any enquiry.
Mark Harrison
Yorkshire Evening Press 28 August 1998
A father committed suicide after receiving a £300 a month demand from the Child Support Agency, an inquest was told.
Mark John Harrison, a 33-year-old clerical officer with BT, could not afford the money because he was already paying the mortgage and all the bills for his former wife and their child, said his father, John Harrison, in a statement at the hearing at Scarborough.
Mr Harrison, of Thomas Street, Barlby Road, Selby, had been found dead in his fume-filled car at a quarry at Flixton near Scarborough after several previous suicide attempts, the inquest heard.
His wife Lesley said in a statement that he had been depressed about money. On one occasion she found him hanging from the attic with a flex around his neck, and he had tried to kill himself by fixing a hose to his car exhaust and taking an overdose.
When she left him, taking their baby with her, he had told her he would take his life. "I told him the threat would not make me return," she said.
Joanne Dennis, who worked with Mr Harrison at BT, said they had started a relationship and she became pregnant. They quarrelled and the CSA "took him to the cleaners financially" over his marriage.
The North Yorkshire East Coroner, Michael Oakley, recorded a verdict that he took his own life.
John Johnson
Nottingham Evening Post 10 February 1999
A father killed himself after blaming the Child Support Agency for leaving him penniless.
John Johnson, 40, sent a suicide note to the agency saying he had "decided to die" because he could not afford to live.
He electrocuted himself at his Hucknall flat.
Mr Johnson’s parents - Henry and Mary - today criticised the agency and said it had driven their son to suicide.
Mrs Johnson, 60, said: "He felt he could not go on any longer because the CSA was taking so much money.
"What they were doing was wrong.He just wanted to sort out sensible payments and now he is dead."
Notts coroner Dr Nigel Chapman recorded a verdict of suicide at a Nottingham inquest.
He said Mr Johnson, of St James Court, had sent several notes, including the one to the CSA.
He said Mr Johnson, of St James Court, had sent several notes, including the one to the CSA.
In a note found on his bed, he wrote: "Life is not worth living with the CSA taking so much money."
Police found MR Johnson’s body on February 1 after being contacted by the CSA.
The inquest heard he was divorced in October and was paying £62 a week maintenance for his 11-year-old son.
Mrs Johnson, from Lincolnshire, told the hearing her son had tried to take his life before, when he came depressed after his marriage ended.
He had got his life back in order, however, and was doing well until the CSA started demanding payments.
"It left him with £85 a week to pay his bills rent and living expenses," she said.
"He had no money but was such a proud man he would not ask us for help."
CSA spokesman Ian Cuddy daid the agency would not take more than 30 per cent of someone’s income.
He added: "It is tragic when someone takes their own life. The CSA touches peoples lives when they are already under great stress but we are always willing to discuss individual problems."
Mr Johnson’s MP, Paddy Tipping, today renewed calls for changes in the CSA, branding it a shambles.
The Guardian 11 February 1999
A father sent a note to the Child Support Agency before electrocuting himself at his flat, an inquest in Nottingham was told yesterday. John Johnson, aged 40, of Hucknall in Nottinghamshire, was found dead on February 1 after the agency contacted police. The note read: "I will not work again because you will only steal 50 per cent of my earnings. I will not live with what I have left and have decided to die."
A spokesman for the CSA said it recognised people became involved with it when they were already under great stress, and was always willing to discuss individual problems. Roslyn Johnson, the deceased’s former wife, and their children Gemma, aged 18, and Nathan, aged 11, were not at their Hucknall home yesterday.
His mother, Mary Johnson, aged 60, of Sleaford in Lincolnshire, said the agency was asking him for more than £60 a week, leaving him with £80 to live on. Verdict: Suicide.
Eastern Daily Press 11 February 1999
A 40-year-old father sent a suicide note to the Child Support Agency before electrocuting himself.
John Johnson, of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, was found dead on February 1 after the CSA contacted police to say they had received the note.
An inquest heard that Mr Johnson had sent several notes including the one to the CSA.
It read: "I will not work again because you will only steal 50 per cent of my earnings. I will not live with what I have left and have decided to die."
Another note found at his home read: "Life is not worth living with the CSA taking so much money."
His mother Mary Johnson, 60, of Sleaford, Linconshire, said: "He was very upset when his marriage broke up, but managed to get over that. Then the CSA were asking for more than £60 a week and that left him with about £80 to live on."
Ian Cuddy, spokesman for the CSA, said: "It is tragic when someone takes their own life.
"The CSA touches people’s lives when they are under great stress, but we are always willing to discuss individual problems."
Notts coroner Dr Nigel Chapman recorded a verdict of suicide.
Mr Johnson’s ex-wife Roslyn and children Gemma, 18 and Nathan, 11, were not at home yesterday.
Unknown Publication 11 February 1999
The parents of a man who committed suicide today criticised the Child Support Agency, saying it had driven him to desperation.
John Johnson (40) electrocuted himself in his flat after sending a note to the CSA saying he had decided to die because he could no longer afford to live.
His parents Henry (67) and Mary Johnson (60) from Heckinton, near Sleaford today spoke of their anger at his death.
Mrs Johnson said: "He felt he couldn’t go on any longer because the CSA was taking so much money. What they were doing was wrong. He just wanted to sort out sensible payments and now he is dead."
In the note he sent to the CSA, John Johnson said: "I will not work again because you will only steal 50 per cent of my earnings. I will not live with what I have left and have decided to die."
Police found Mr Johnson’s body in his Nottingham flat on February 1 after being contacted by the CSA who had received his suicide note. He was found wired up to the mains.
Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman recorded a verdict of suicide at an inquest yesterday.
The inquest heard that Mr Johnson was divorced in October and was paying £62 a week for maintenance for his 11-year-old son
His mother Mary told the inquest that her son had attempted to take his life after his marriage broke down, but in the months before his death he had got his life back in order until the demands came through from the CSA.
He was a quality control inspector with Bell’s Fruits in Nottingham where he was picking up £147 per week.
His mother said he had to pay £62 to the CSA, £40 for the car, £32 for rent and £10 on council tax which left him with £3 a week for anything else. His mother was helping him out with £50 per fortnight.
She said: "The CSA got in touch with him almost immediately after the divorce.
"I blame the CSA for my son’s death. We are absolutely devastated. Nobody should have to go through what we went through."
A CSA spokesman said the agency would not take more than 40 per cent of an individual’s income.
"It is tragic when someone takes their own life. The CSA touches people’s lives when they are already under great stress, but we are always willing to discuss problems," he said.
Hucknall & Bulwell Dispatch 12 February 1999
Left with only £3 to live on, a Hucknall man wrote a note that said: "I have decided to die"
The mother of a Hucknall man who killed himself claims the CSA made life impossible for him. John Johnson (40) died from electrocution at his flat in St James’s Court, as was exclusively reported in last weeks Dispatch.
He was divorced last October and was paying £62 a week maintenance for his 11-year-old son. His mother, Mary Johnson (60), told a Nottingham Inquest: "The CSA was taking so much of his money that he felt he could not go on any longer."
Mrs Johnson of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, said her son had tried to take his life previously when he became depressed after his marriage ended, But he had started to get back on his feet and was doing well until the CSA started demanding payments from him.
It meant he had only £85 a week to pay his rent and other living expenses, leaving him with just £3. "I would like to know how anybody could live on that," said Mrs Johnson.
Mr Johnson sent a note to the CSA saying he would never work again. He claimed the CSA would ‘steal’ 50 per cent of his wages and he would not be able to live with what was left, so he had ‘decided to die’.
Pc Michael Topham told the inquest he went to Mr Johnson’s home at 2.45 pm on Monday February 1 after the CSA contacted the police about the note. He forced the door and the flat was in complete darkness. He found the body of MR Johnson, who had wired himself up to an electricity mains socket.
One of several notes left by Mr Johnson read: "Life is not worth living with the CSA taking so much money."
Recording a suicide verdict, Nottinghamshire Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman said: "I am not going to get involved with outside agencies. But I am satisfied that John has done an act to take his own life."
MP blasts "shambles" that leads to distress. Hucknall’s Labour MP, Paddy Tipping, is fighting for changes in the CSA to avoid another tragedy like the death of John Johnson.
Mr Tipping said: "I did not know Mr Johnson but people complain to me about the CSA at all my surgeries. It is a shambles and I have difficulty getting information out of them. Many people suffer real distress as the result of the agency’’ demands. In Mr Johnson’’ case, the distress led to his very tragic death.""
Mr Tipping said he had spoken separately to the chief executive of the CSA and the junior minister in the department of social security, Baroness Hollis.
"I am confident of new legislation, hopefully in the next parliamentary session, to change the CSA," said Mr Tipping.
"People are being treated very poorly and are very often given wrong answers. I am very sad at what has happened in Mr Johnson’s case but it makes me even more determined to get the CSA changed.
Robert Hendry
Lincolshire Echo 1 March 1999
A distraught mother whose son took his own life after a struggle to pay CSA demands is calling for a better deal for dads.
Robert Hendry killed himself because he was unable to cope with paternity payments to children from a previous marriage.
Today, his devastated mum, Amelia Marris, who lives just outside Lincoln, said in his darkest hours no-one could have known what he was going through."He was in hell," she said.
"There was nobody he could turn to who could understand. I think there should be a support group for men in this situation, someone to turn to for advice."
An inquest heard how Mr Hendry had also been struggling with a relationship since his divorce and couldn’t find work.
The 32-year-old telephone engineer died of carbon monoxide poisoning last November after driving to a secluded spot in Dunholme, near Lincoln, to take his own life.
A statement by Mrs Marris was read by coroner Roger Atkinson. It asked how many more of Britain’s sons would be lost to suicide and called for support to men struggling with depression and CSA demands.
"Robert was always happy to provide for his son and daughter," said Mrs Marris. "He would send them money and parcels of clothes. He was a hard working father and when he lost his job, too proud to sign on the dole."
Mrs Marris said she would be pleased to hear from anyone who would be prepared to lend advice to struggling fathers in similar situations. Robert wouldn’t want anyone to go through what he went through, and neither would I," she said.
Lloyd Mather
The Mirror 30 April 1999
A father killed himself after he was wrongly told he’d have to pay more to the CSA, an inquest heard yesterday.
Lloyd Mather, 39, gassed himself in his car.
But ten days after his death a letter to him from the CSA revealed that a mistake had been made.
He had actually been overcharged by £700.
The father of two, an engineer, had been very worried about money in the months leading up to his death, the inquest at Winchester heard.
"He said he was having a problem financially with the amount of money the CSA were taking", his father Roy Mather said.
"The CSA changed the amount Lloyd was having to pay at the end of last year and it was upped.
"After his death his employer received a letter from the CSA saying they had made a mistake to the tune of £700".
Lloyd from Andover, Hants, was found dead in his Mini on the edge of farmland at nearby Tangley by a motorist.
His father added that Lloyd split from his partner ten years ago and she lived in Great Yarmouth with their children.
A former heroin addict Lloyd had become a volunteer worker at a drugs advisory service in Andover. Friend Margaret Cuniffe, the service co-ordinator, said she became worried about him.
"When he became a volunteer he said he had been clean for three years and the problem was behind him." But she said she went to see him in January and knew he must be taking drugs again.
"He was very worried about having to pay more money to the CSA," she said. "He was working but his hours had been cut down."
Mid Hants coroner Grahame Short said: "I don’t think we will ever know for sure why he took his own life.
"I think it was a combination of his inability to break his drug habit, the financial pressures he found mounting against him and in particular the problems with the CSA."
Verdict: suicide.
Anthony Tipper
Derbyshire Evening Telegraph 24 August 1999
Mum tells of son’s worries over CSA.
The mother of a man who was found dead in a fume-filled car has told how her son was finding it a struggle to cope with maintenance payments demanded by the Child Support Agency.
Forklift driver Anthony Tipper (33) was found dead in his car which was parked in Green Lane at Ellastone.
A post mortem investigation showed Mr Tipper, who lived with his parents, John and Shirley Tipper, in Elm View, Denstone, had died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Mrs Tipper (59) said: "He was paying maintenance for his six-year-old child. He wasn’t arguing about paying, but it was such a big amount out of his wages." Mr Tipper worked for Elkes Biscuits in Uttoxeter and had taken on a weekend job to make ends meet.He died on August 14. A note by him said: "Don’t blame anybody. Don’t be sad, I’m not."
A CSA spokeswoman said: "We do feel sad when people take their lives, but we cannot comment on any individual cases."
An inquest into Mr Tipper’s death was opened and adjourned until a date to be fixed.
Alan Jones
Alan Jones’ uncle, Roy Griffiths of Newstead
A father worried about the Child Support Agency arranged his own funeral before taking his life in his bedsit.
Alan Jones whose wife had been contacted by the CSA was found dead in bed after not being seen for nine days. The Coroner, John Wain, said: "...I realise that he was very conscious of the CSA and I feel that his own thoughts about the matter ...played a substantial part in (his) intention to take his own life."
Mr Jones, aged 44 and a former British Rail worker from Fenton in Staffordshire, split from his wife in 1985 but had remained close to her and their son; he continued to pay maintenance and provide extras for the family, visiting most days.
However, he became "very concerned and furious" when the CSA became involved. In particular he became worried about the situation concerning his first wife and her daughter. Alan’s uncle, anti CSA campaigner Roy Griffiths of Newstead, confirmed that Alan had arranged his own funeral and he also found a bundle of CSA cuttings and a suicide note whilst clearing his nephew’s flat after his death. It read:
"The CSA. With reference to the above, which was brought in through Parliament last year (all parties). I enclose paper cuttings which apply also to myself and no doubt many others. There have been deaths due to this and I can tell you now my name will at some time be another."
Roy said: "The CSA drove Alan to breaking point."
A spokeswoman for the CSA acknowledged that it had been blamed for suicides before but said that she could not comment on specific cases.
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