‘Please let me leave the house where my son killed himself’ – Sunderland mum’s plea

Sandra Shipley with a photograph of her late son Tommy Shipley who commited suicide in her house.
Sandra Shipley with a photograph of her late son Tommy Shipley who commited suicide in her house.
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A GRANDMOTHER says she is at her wits’ end as she claims a housing firm is set against moving her family out of the home where her son committed suicide.

Sandra Shipley, 46, has fought a long-standing battle against Sunderland housing company Gentoo to be re-housed.

It is six years since husband David, 48, found their son Tommy, 21, hanging from a bunk bed in the back bedroom of their Arden Square home.

The tragedy made the room a no-go area for Sandra, who now cannot face going upstairs at all after she suffered a cardiac arrest in the other bedroom, rendering her clinically dead for 27 minutes.

The grandma-of-one is now desperate to move on with her life and lay the ghosts of the past to rest.

“My son hanged himself in the back bedroom and I died in the front,” she said. “There is no way I could go in there. I just couldn’t.”

Sandra’s health could deteriorate at any time but she has been sleeping downstairs on a sofa and is forced to use a commode as she cannot get to the bathroom.

The couple, who also have son Jimmy, 25 and daughter Nicole, 17, say they have spent £700 to put the house right at the request of Gentoo.

But the family say it appears they are facing their losing battle.

“We’ve paid for decorating in the kitchen and they’ve had us replace doors that didn’t match,” Sandra said.

“Every time they come back there is something different. It’s as if they don’t want us to move.

“It’s got us feeling really down. I’ve been sleeping downstairs, all the stress is making my health worse.

“I’ve got to use a commode which is embarrassing in itself. It’s just degrading and very upsetting.”

Gentoo deputy director Lucy Malarkey 
said: “We have been aware of Mr and Mrs Shipley’s situation for some time and have been working with them to assist in their rehousing request.

“Unfortunately, Mr and Mrs Shipley still have a number of issues within the interior of their home that need to be resolved before we can progress any further.

“We have discussed these issues with Mr Shipley and will continue to assist the family to resolve the matters, which will enable us to progress their rehousing request.”