Bedfordshire inquest hears eviction threat led to ‘vulnerable’ man throwing himself in front of a train



3 June 2013 Last updated at 16:37

A man jumped in front of a train on the day he was due to be evicted from his Bedfordshire home, an inquest has heard.

Peter Williams, 63, had been pursued for tax arrears by Central Bedfordshire Council since the mid-1990s.

Dunstable Coroner’s Court previously heard claims the council “hounded this man to his death” but the council said it “spent years” trying to help him.

The engineer was killed by a train at Biggleswade on 8 February last year.

He caught a bus from his Langford home to the railway station and jumped in front of a Hull to King’s Cross train at around 09:00 GMT.

The cause of death was multiple injuries, the inquest was told.

Mr Williams initially owed £1,350 but by the time he killed himself the sum had risen to £70,000, including legal fees.

‘Brilliant man’

Police attended Mr Williams four-bedroom £200,000 home at Jubilee Lane, Langford, after receiving a call from a concerned friend on 8 February, coroner’s officer Peter Wright told the inquest.

There they found two suicide notes.

Mike O’Brien QC, representing Mr Williams’ family, previously told the hearing:

“The local authority say Mr Williams was not vulnerable. We say he was.

“It was the council who hounded this man until his death. He was a brilliant man, an inventor.”

Coroner Martin Oldham, who is sitting without a jury, read a 57-page statement by James Tomlin, a revenues manager with Central Bedfordshire Council.

Mr Tomlin has died since making the statement and cannot be questioned by Mr O’Brien.

In it the officer said the council “spent years trying to help Mr Williams” and also offered him help with claiming benefits and the single person’s rebate, but he had not completed the forms.

He added although he was a recluse he had no concerns for Mr Williams’ mental stability.

The council was awarded a bankruptcy order in 2006 and since then it had little to do with the engineer, the inquest heard.

The inquest is expected to last for five days.


9 thoughts on “Bedfordshire inquest hears eviction threat led to ‘vulnerable’ man throwing himself in front of a train

  1. Prola Tariat says:

    Yet another needless death,why was there no intervention of the social services,if this has been an ongoing issue?

  2. Louise Greenwood says:

    Stunned, are we more concerned about £1,350 than we are a mans life…. Seems someone is!

  3. Qashie James says:

    It states above that he owned £1.350 and yet it has jumped by £68,650 is that legal fees & the councils interest rates? to me he was hounded by this council and they should take most of the blame for his untimely death? These councils have forgotten that they are employed by the voters and the people? so they must shoulder some of blame for his passing & James Tomlin should lay his head in shame?

    1. The Infamous Culex says:

      The increase in the “debt” was entirely due to the pond slime at Central Bedfordshite Council making Mr Williams bankrupt. Insolvency is not an efficient way to recover Council Tax debts and, in this case at least, it was completely inappropriate.

  4. David Moynagh says:

    We can expect lots more suicides amongst the sick and disabled as thr tory engineered Atos torment and vilification continues unchallenged. Do yhe citizens of Britain feel proud that they are witness to a government induced atrocity that last visited the vulnerable in nazi Germany. I am very angry and I hope my anger is contagious . If enough people direct their anger at this diabolical westminster government then we might see compassion arise from direct action. The present tribe of westminster jackals need to br removed urgently.

  5. Dee says:

    Our whole culture is riddled with bullying, it goes far beyond the classroom Men, in particular, think it makes them look matcho when it infact makes them look like prats.

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