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RIP David Clapson

July 22, 2014

Is this how we treat our former soldiers?

“Lessons must be learned” from the death of a Stevenage diabetic who could not afford electricity to keep his insulin cool after his benefits were stopped.

One year ago on Sunday (July 20), former soldier David Clapson died aged 59 at his home in Hillside from fatal diabetic keto-acidosis, which the NHS calls “a dangerous complication of diabetes caused by a lack of insulin.”

His jobseeker’s allowance of approximately £70 a week – on which his family says he was reliant – had been suspended three weeks before on June 28, for missing meetings.

According to his family, Mr Clapson was found “alone, penniless and starving” a short distance from a pile of printed CVs, with nothing to his name but £3.44, six tea bags, a tin of soup and an out-of-date tin of sardines.

The coroner found that David – a former BT engineer of 16 years, who had served two years in Northern Ireland with the Royal Corps of Signals during The Troubles – had nothing in his stomach when he died.

Now his sister, Gill Thompson, says “lessons must be learned” by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) before vulnerable benefit claimants are sanctioned in future.

She said: “I rang him regularly to check on him and so did friends, but because he was such a quiet and private person neither family nor friends knew just how bad it was.

“Apparently the DWP rely on information from the claimant, support workers or medical professionals to understand the level of vulnerability.

“Should his severe condition not been taken into consideration when issuing this sanctions? Should someone have checked his file?”

In a letter sent by the DWP regarding the case, head of benefit centres – Claire McGuckin – said “I am confident that the correct procedures were followed for the administration of benefit.”

Gill said: “I am disgusted with the DWP response and now feel I should make this more public.

“David should have been helped by health professionals not persecuted by the authorities. He was not a scrounger but wouldn’t seek help. He needed true professional and clinical support which never came.

“The authorities should have been more willing to understand and help a vulnerable adult before they die.

“The signs were there and lessons must be learned to ensure cases like this are truly eliminated from a fair society.”

A spokesman for the DWP said: “Our sympathy is with Mr Clapson’s family.

“Our advisers work closely with claimants to support them into work, and if someone is in a vulnerable situation we take that into account if they tell us.

“Sanctions are only used as a last resort when claimants fail to do everything they can in return for benefits, however hardship payments are available so they can continue to meet their basic needs.”

24 Comments leave one →
  1. john permalink
    July 22, 2014 8:04 pm

    see them dwp jobcenter workers are f…..g scum .. u dwp so called union members – ha ha -union members killing the most vunrabel in soceity .hate to say this but if the torys win the next election i pray they close all the jobcenters down ..u all know the dwp will not help at all . the dwp just trys and unlawfully takes basic means away from people who need it the most. i hope all them jobcenters close u bunch of nazi- oppps socalists/ rember people the dwp jobcenter workers are a union … god u are scum u lot

  2. July 22, 2014 8:13 pm

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales.

  3. July 22, 2014 8:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    Are any further words necessary?

  4. July 22, 2014 8:35 pm

    The bastard Ian Dimwit-Smith should be made to personally give his account of this case. Not in weasely political speak but in human terms which I suspect he is incapable of doing so.

    • ulysses permalink
      July 22, 2014 9:32 pm

      IDS, Tried for genocide, im waiting for that day

  5. Lynne Ismail permalink
    July 22, 2014 9:25 pm

    This is so appalling that its time this story goes public. This government are committing genocide to their most vulnerable citizens and they are getting away with it!

  6. beastrabban permalink
    July 22, 2014 9:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Another poor soul joins the many others who have died poor and starving thanks to the DWP’s sanctions regime. As for McGuckin’s statement that she was confident the correct procedures had been followed for the administration of benefit, this is unacceptable. Clearly, no-one actually bothered to check, or even apparently cared, whether sanctions were appropriate in the case of man with extremely precarious health. If there were guidelines about the treatment of vulnerable claimants like Mr Clapson, then it’s obvious they weren’t followed. It’s either that, or the more likely explanation that there are no proper guidelines for dealing with such people, because the DWP doesn’t care if they die, so long as the procedure for sanctioning claimants goes ahead. With her tactless brush-off of such concerns, McGuckin has shown herself completely unsuited to her job. She should be sacked, as, of course, should the very people at the top: IDS, Mike Penning, and Fester McLie.

  7. July 22, 2014 9:53 pm

    I felt sick reading this, physically sick. The ministers responsible should stand trial, no ifs, buts or maybes. What an appalling way to treat someone. My condolences to his family

  8. jaypot2012 permalink
    July 22, 2014 10:19 pm

    I’m appalled, angry and so sad. That poor man, to be robbed of his life in such a terrible and painful way – whilst the ministers, IDS and McGuckin ate healthily at home (and in Westminster), had money for electric and gas bills, and of course, never spoke or thought of one single person who was sitting there with no money and no electric.
    This should be shown everywhere, newspapers, media, anything at all that gets the message out just what our “caring” tories are capable of, and on a daily basis really.
    R.I.P. David Clapson – my sincerest condolences to his family and friends. No-one deserves to die this way 😦

  9. jaypot2012 permalink
    July 22, 2014 10:20 pm

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    Extremely sad – please read and pass on…

  10. July 22, 2014 10:23 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  11. Laurence permalink
    July 22, 2014 11:51 pm

    “Sanctions are only used as a last resort” – rubbish. Sanctions are the first thing the JC bod talks about if the poor claimant’s paperwork is lacking is some minor way.

  12. Mr.Angry permalink
    July 23, 2014 7:04 am

    How can we as a community get this in every paper and news channel across the country, I speak as a brittle diabetic and know what it’s like to go into a hypo at any time without warning and it is not pleasant and extremely dangerous. I can not go anywhere unless escorted by my wife. This poor poor man. My God those responsible MUST be tried for manslaughter they are despicable. My sincere condolences to his family from the heart.

    Sanctions !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and we have the money, billions for a bloody new HS2 railway line to benefit bloody London!!!!!!!!!!!! and endless money for IDS appeals to save his evil face!!!!!!!!!!

    God rest this poor mans soul

  13. jeffrey davies permalink
    July 23, 2014 7:13 am

    The coroner found that David – a former BT engineer of 16 years, who had served two years in Northern Ireland with the Royal Corps of Signals during The Troubles – had nothing in his stomach when he died. nothing isn’t life strange when those who have served are shit on isn’t it strange our politicians pay for nowt hands outstreatched for that coin yet this exsquardie is sanctioned
    with all their robust filling out of reports just to make em look good dwp sais lessons must be learnt yet time and time again they fail misserabley to do this allowing the vunerable to die just because they are robust filling out their damed reports yes rtu ids world killing of sick disabled even the unemployed yet on its goes while those being abused by this system are left to die welcome to the modern way of ridding themselves of the weak jeff3

  14. Judy Munday permalink
    July 23, 2014 9:04 am

    I too believe that IDS should be charged with manslaughter/murder because of the number of people who have suffered and died under his regime. It is disgusting that we are actually paying this wicked man a huge salary to instigate his evil plans. We need a revolution in this country, our politicians are looking after themselves and not we the electorate. I do not vote Tory but I am not in favour of the way Socialists are behaving any more either. Since the shopkeepers daughter people have learned to be very greedy and uncaring all the work put in during the past for Socialism has been corroded the bunch we have now are not true Socialists. I am old but I do fear for the young. This country has gone to the dogs.

  15. July 23, 2014 12:00 pm

    Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    Totally disgraceful – this guy needed help and support and not stupid sanctioning which resulted in him not being able to refrigerate his insulin and starving.
    Yet we have money for tax cuts for the rich and a 11% pay rise next year for MP’s!
    Something wrong???

  16. antony waterman permalink
    July 24, 2014 9:36 am

    I have just read of the death of dave clapson and i am totally shocked, i worked with dave on bt for all of the time he was there and he was the most quietly unassuming man you could meet. It says a lot about the man that i never knew he had served in the army let alone in northern Ireland or that he was diabetic. He always had a smile on his face and would go out of his way to help you and was a hard working man, for him to end up like this i find deeply distressing. Certainly those who caused this travesty should be held to account and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. Dave you were an absolute gentleman and it was a privilege to know you and work with you.

    • July 24, 2014 10:58 am

      Antony, I am so sorry for your loss of your personal friend. Thank you so much for sharing your comment with us here.

      Best wishes


  17. July 25, 2014 2:14 am

    David Clapson – died 22nd July 2014, R.I.P.

    I have added David Clapson’s name to our list of deaths caused due to the dwp policies

  18. Nick permalink
    July 28, 2014 3:35 pm

    his death is noted by the UN as a unlawful death the uk government have no authority with the intention of killing another person through a benefit cut causing that person to starve to death.

    that is unlawful and those responsible for this man’s death will be held accountable in due course. the very idea as some may think in that overseas governments can kill their people which is wrong but ok for the uk government to do so is a completely false notion.

    in both counts you have committed a crime against another resulting in their death and like in all cases throughout history you will be held accountable irrespective of the country you live in or control you will at some point be tried by a judge for your crimes and sentenced to either prison or execution depending on which country the crime has taken place

  19. Dr.B.A.Reay permalink
    August 3, 2014 10:36 am

    I’m not for a minute defending sanctions, but if this man’s own family didn’t see he had a problem, or do anything to help, it suggests he never told them or asked for help. He could have stored his insulin in a neighbour’s fridge, he could have asked his GP to intervene, he could have been referred to a foodbank, he could have sought hospital admission for his diabetic ketoacidosis….but he didn’t.
    I’m guessing he was clinically depressed or too private a person to seek help. That is tragic, but it is not the direct fault of the benefit office staff. They are not mindreaders, nor are they trained to spot depressed patients. I’d say his family, friends, diabetic nurse, GP practice etc all failed this man equally, but the major cause was his unwillingness to seek help. Maybe in his memory we could all try harder to care for vulnerable people we know, to ask them if the’re ok, to offer a helping hand. Don’t leave it to some faceless benefit office to try and pick up the pieces.

    • Dr. Who permalink
      August 3, 2014 2:02 pm

      I don’t think you realise the lengths most people will go to, in order to hide their problems and destitution from others, especially from their friends and family, and especially when they’ve previously been OK. I’ve seen this many times personally.

      “it is not the direct fault of the benefit office staff.”

      No that’s OK, they were just “Following orders”.

  20. August 3, 2014 12:34 pm

    More importantly if we had a compassionate government that didn’t stigmatise people who have to rely on benefits many people, and I suspect David was one would not dread the effects of this government sponsored stigmatisation.

    having worked for 42 years in the public service I fully understand the fear that most people approach public services with. All the more so when as a group they are singled out for attack by the rotten vile government.

  21. Jonny permalink
    September 9, 2014 1:26 pm

    I notice this story isn’t in most of the papers, only the mirror and the guardian… the only 2 remotely left wing papers remaining. Just goes to show how rotten this country is at the core, with those in power sharing beds with the media.

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