Bedroom Tax suicide: Stephanie Bottrill’s grieving son Steven hits out at David Cameron

Mirror

Iain Duncan Smith’s punishing new payments were the last straw for the tragic 53-year-old who killed herself to avoid plunging into further poverty 

Steven Bottrill
Steven Bottrill
Page One Photography

Unable to work because of ­a crippling illness, ­Stephanie Bottrill was already struggling to survive before the hated Bedroom Tax came in.

But Iain Duncan Smith’s punishing new payments were the last straw for the tragic 53-year-old who killed herself to avoid plunging into further poverty after being hit with an £80 a month bill for the two spare bedrooms in her council house.

And last night her distraught son Steven begged David Cameron to scrap the tax to stop anyone else being driven to suicide. 

The 27-year-old spoke as an online petition calling for the Work and Pensions ­Secretary Mr Duncan Smith to go over ­Stephanie’s death gained ­thousands of ­signatures.

Steven said: “The man who can change things is David Cameron. I think my mum wanted to get it out there what happened. 

Stephanie Bottrill
Stephanie Bottrill
Page One Photography 

“Hopefully now someone will listen. Someone will realise what has gone on and change things.

“They are all sitting in an office in London thinking of ideas how they can make money, but Mr Cameron has to give the seal of approval.

“They haven’t thought it through properly, how it will affect people. For my mum £80 a month is a huge amount of money but for people who are on huge salaries who have gone to Eton it is a different world.

“She was struggling already, it was a lot to ask for.”

Stephanie was so poor she used hot water bottles instead of her central heating. Steven added: “She couldn’t afford it. All the winter she didn’t have the heating on.

“She wrapped up warm, she had hot water bottles even when she was watching the telly.

“In 2013 in Britain you can’t imagine this. To live like that…” 

Stephanie Bottrill suicide note
Stephanie Bottrill suicide note
Page One Photography 

The Sunday People yesterday told how desperate gran Stephanie threw herself in front of a speeding lorry over her dire financial plight.

She was hit with the £80 a month bedroom tax after Steven and his sister Laura, 23, both left home.

In her suicide note to her son, she wrote: “Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government.”

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls warned ministers were pushing struggling ­householders to the brink of despair with their attacks on the poor.

He said: “Two thirds of people affected by the bedroom tax are disabled. It’s not fair. This policy is driving people to the edge of despair in their many thousands. David Cameron, George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith should stand back from the rhetoric, which is always a little bit nasty and a little bit ­divisive, and say, ‘What are we actually doing?’ People are suffering terrible trauma.”

Stephanie, of ­Solihull, West Mids, had the auto-immune system ­deficiency Myasthenia gravis, an illness which weakens muscles. She was on constant ­medication. 

The scene of the M6 motorway in Birmingham where Stephanie commited suicide
The scene of the M6 motorway in Birmingham where Stephanie committed suicide
Page One Photography 

Steven said his mum wanted to work, but could not. Doctors told her she was too ill but she was never ­registered as ­disabled, so had no ­disability benefit.

She had wanted to downsize her home but the council had nothing smaller available.

Steven added: “I last saw my mum the day before it happened. She had phoned me up crying and said she couldn’t go on there’s too much pressure. She was asked to find another £20 a week but she just didn’t have it. The system failed her at every stage.” Stephanie died in the early hours of May 4 on the M6.

She had visited neighbours before killing herself, telling them: “I can’t afford to live.”

One, Tracey Hurley, said: “She had gone round everybody giving them hugs. But what I didn’t know was that she had obviously been planning it.”

Tracey described Stephanie as “kind-hearted with a good soul”.

Mr Duncan Smith would not comment yesterday. 

VIDEO REPORThttp://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/bedroom-tax-suicide-stephanie-bottrills-1886058

Comments
  • jed goodright May 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Cameron is never in this country long enough to ask anything – he’s still got the blood of the dying on his hands though

  • Mike May 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

    And not one word from the BBC about this tragedy.

    • Trevor May 15, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Aunty Beeb’s too busy brown-nosing up to the royals and running around like headless chickens over the revelations of its glut of paedophile presenters to be bothered about “trivia” like desperate claimants taking their own lives. And – hell! – they wouldn’t want to be accused of being just a wee bit left-wing by covering this tragic incident, would they? That might bring down the collective wrath of the Bullingdon Bully boys and their mates in the foul tabloid press upon their collective shoulders for daring to display a modicum of compassion towards this poor woman’s plight.

      • Mike May 15, 2013 at 1:08 pm

        I sent the beeb six texts and an email. Nothing came back.
        An official complaint has been made now.
        I’ll let you know of any “explanation” for their news block.

  • j.bradley May 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    so the ” RATBAG ” declines to comment again then, nothing new !

  • Serenity May 15, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Meanwhile our government subsidise the private sector landlords left, right and center, with lovely tax payer funded loans in the budget and interest rates at an all time low et al.
    http://fullfact.org/factchecks/budget_help_to_buy_encourage_first_time_second_homes-28840

  • David Moynagh May 15, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    Iain Duncan Smith and Cameron deserve no less than to be dragged screaming in front of the international court of human rights for crimes against humanity for all the tragic suicides that they have engineered through Atos torment of the sick and disabled and the bedroom tax. They are evil and utterly sinister individuals who need to face justice.

    • karin May 16, 2013 at 1:13 am

      Hear hear. It has to happen.

    • Fiona May 19, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      This government bears the shame and the guilt of this poor woman’s death. Unfortunately there will be more, until THE PEOPLE of GREAT BRITAIN stand up and say NO MORE!!! , they are committing murder! If we do nothing, we are as guilty as Cameron and his Nazi Party!

  • Deborah Kean May 16, 2013 at 3:41 am

    How horrendous, poor woman!

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