The 14 Words

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Killed by benefits cuts: Starving soldier died 'as result of Iain Duncan Smith's welfare reform'


A diabetic ex-soldier died starving and skint after officials axed his benefits.

David Clapson, 59, was stripped of the cash after missing an ­appointment under harsh Coalition reforms. 
He died in Stevenage, Herts, with just £3.44 left in his account.

David once faced death on a daily basis as he served his country loyally in the terror hell of Northern Ireland. And when he left the Army he went straight into the ­workplace with BT before becoming a full-time carer for his sick mother. After she went into a home, diabetic David turned to the state for help while he looked for work.

But under the Coalition’s callous new benefits rules he had his £71.70 a week Jobseeker’s Allowance axed – merely because he missed an appointment with an adviser. Stripped of his income, the 59-year-old could not afford food or electricity and died starving, ­penniless and alone at his home.

His death was from diabetic ­ketoacidosis – caused by not taking his insulin.

Tonight his distraught sister Gill Thompson told how she believes he may have stopped injecting himself with the life-saving drug after becoming so desperate over his lack of cash and work.

Choking back tears, she said: 
“I think he just gave up. I want the lessons to be learned. I don’t want anybody else to die. He shouldn’t have died like that. You wouldn’t let an animal die like that, would you?
“I just, I look at food now and think, ‘My brother didn’t have any.’
"My brother was not a scrounger. He was getting £71.70 a week. He was not living on ­champagne and caviar. They should have taken into account his past work and his condition.”

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