Epileptic man hanged himself after his benefits were stopped

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DEVASTATED that his benefits had been stopped, a man with epilepsy hanged himself.

Trevor Drakard had been deemed fit for employment, after a back-to-work assessment.

The 50-year-old, who never married and had few friends, took his own life at his home in Sunderland.

An inquest into his death heard Mr Drakard had been diagnosed with epilepsy from the age of six and was receiving Incapacity Benefit.

Coroner’s officer Neville Dixon told a hearing in Sunderland: “In the past few months he had been deemed fit to work and his benefits were stopped.

“He had been in the process of appealing with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

“He had been feeling very down in recent weeks, due to the stress of losing his benefits.”

A “lonely person”, Mr Drakard had also lost two close friends in the last three years.

He would meet his parents for dinner three times a week, the hearing was told.

They last saw him on July 18, after dropping him off at his home in General Graham Street.

When they were unable to get in touch with him about signing papers relating to his benefits, they called round to the house and found Mr Drakard’s body in his bedroom.

Senior coroner Derek Winter said Mr Drakard would have been unconscious “in a small number of seconds” and died shortly after.

Tests showed he had still been taking his epilepsy medication.

Mr Winter said he was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that Mr Drakard had been responsible for his own death.

Speaking after the hearing, Sunderland MP Julie Elliot said: “This case is tragic and need not have happened. My thoughts are with Mr Drakards’ family and friends.

“Sadly, the removal of benefits to genuinely sick people is becoming all too common, having a devastating impact on people’s lives and in this case a tragic outcome.

“The system is not fit for purpose – the Government needs to act now to stop anymore tragedies occurring and causing unnecessary hardship to people.”

Verdict: Suicide.