Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Bedroom tax blamed for gran's death

Stephanie Bottrill told neighbours she simply could not afford to live any more

A grandmother who killed herself left a note blaming the Government for her death.

Stephanie Bottrill's family said she was tortured about how she would afford the £20 extra a week for the two spare bedrooms in her home - money she owed because of the Government's spare room subsidy policy, the so-called "bedroom tax", the Sunday People reported.

Ms Bottrill died in the early hours of May 4 after she was struck by a lorry on the M6 motorway, which is a short walk from her terraced house. Just days before she died, the 53-year-old from Solihull in the West Midlands told neighbours she simply could not afford to live any more.

Neighbours described her as "a good person" who had grown increasingly worried about how she was going to cope with her enforced house move.

In a letter to her son Steven, 27, she said: "Don't blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government."

He told the newspaper: "I couldn't believe it. She said not to blame ourselves, it was the Government and what they were doing that caused her to do it. She was fine before the bedroom tax. It was dreamt up in London, by people in offices and big houses. They have no idea the effect it has on people like my mum."

He said she was distraught at having to leave the home she had lived in for 18 years, where she had raised two children as a single mother.

Tracey Hurley, who lives next door, said she took a meal round on the day before her death as Ms Bottrill had not eaten in three days. She recalled how over winter "there was a never a light on in the house", and the heating was off because Ms Bottrill feared she could not afford to pay the bill.

Mrs Hurley, who had been her neighbour for four years, added Ms Bottrill had "gone round everybody on the Friday giving them hugs". She added: "But what I didn't know was that she had obviously been planning to do it because she'd written the notes on the Thursday."

Ms Bottrill had also packed up the few belongings in her house in Meriden Drive, the Sunday People said.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz