Shaun Pilkington, 58, was sent a letter saying he was to lose his Employment and Support Allowance, which he got after a long-term illness
Shaun Pilkington, 58, was sent a letter saying he was to lose his Employment and Support Allowance, which he got after a long-term illness. He was told he would have to be reassessed and needed to prove he was eligible. But as the hearing approached, friends said Shaun, a licensed gamekeeper, became discouraged.
Days later he called police and said he was about to kill himself. They found him dead at his flat.
A neighbour said: “There were armed police everywhere. Sadly he’d gone through with his threat. It is a tragedy. He was upset because he got a letter saying his ESA was being stopped. He was pretty down about it and said he was finding it hard to cope with the decision. He was a lovely man. It is not fair what the Government is doing.”
Well-wishers left floral tributes and cans of Stella outside Shaun’s home in Beighton, Sheffield.
The neighbour added: “It all got on top of him – having no money for Christmas and being warned he’d lose his benefits. It’s wrong what they’re doing, targeting people on benefits. We haven’t got a lot of money but the Government seems intent on cutting it.”
Registered gun-keeper Shaun was divorced and had two grown-up children and a two-month-old grandson.
Another neighbour, Shani Hird, said yesterday: “We have lost a dear neighbour who shot himself due to his money being stopped. His appeal was due next week but he felt he could not carry on. This is so sad. This isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. I think it is terrible the Government’s benefit cuts are causing vulnerable people so much pain and misery.”
Police yesterday confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances.
Shaun’s estranged family was too upset to talk. He joins a growing list of people who have taken their lives since the Tory-led Coalition employed private firm Atos to reassess thousands of people on long-term benefits.
Blind Tim Salter, 53, of Kinver, Staffordshire, died after being deemed fit to work. A coroner ruled the move to axe his benefit had contributed to his suicide.
Edward Jacques, 47, of Sneinton, Nottingham, took a fatal overdose after his benefit payments were stopped.
Jobless Richard Sanderson, 44, of Southfields, south-west London, stabbed himself in the heart. Unemployed electrician Lee Robinson, 39, of Crawley, Sussex, also took his own life.
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