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THE mother of a housebound, disabled woman who killed herself after her benefits were cut lost a High Court bid today for a fresh inquest into her daughter’s death.
Jodey Whiting, 42, from Stockton-on-Tees, died in February 2017, around two weeks after her disability benefit was stopped for missing a work capability assessment.
Her mother, Joy Dove, asked the High Court in London in June to grant a new inquest into the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)’s role in Ms Whiting’s death.
The original inquest, which lasted 37 minutes, determined that Ms Whiting had taken her own life.
Ms Dove’s lawyers argued there were “multiple, significant failings” by the DWP when it terminated her daughter’s employment and support allowance (ESA) that were not considered at the previous inquest.
But in a ruling today, Lord Justice Warby, Mrs Justice Farbey and Judge Thomas Teague QC — the chief coroner for England and Wales — dismissed the claim, finding the original inquest was sufficient.
Ms Justice Farbey said a new inquest would not be in the interests of justice, adding: “It is likely to remain a matter of speculation as to whether or not the department’s decision caused Ms Whiting’s suicide.
“In my judgment, it would be extremely difficult for a new inquest to conclude that the department caused Ms Whiting’s death.”
The independent case examiner (ICE), which investigates complaints about the DWP, had found multiple breaches of department policy, significant errors by staff and several “missed opportunities” for the DWP to reconsider the claim.
After the decision, Ms Dove said: “I am bitterly disappointed by the High Court’s ruling.
“More than four years on from losing Jodey the DWP has still not had to answer for the role that I believe it played in her death.
“Despite dismissing my application the judgement makes it clear that the behaviour of the DWP has been shocking and I welcome the High Court ruling that Jodey’s ESA should never been withdrawn.
“This is not the end. I am not giving up and I will continue to fight for justice for Jodey. Thank you to all those who have supported me in this fight so far.”
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