24 April 2020
What: A coroner fails to examine how DWP’s actions may have been a factor in the death of Christian Wilcox, despite twice being told there was evidence of such a link. Wilcox had written online for several months before taking his own life of the mental distress and financial hardship caused by the loss of his PIP. Disability News Service had alerted South London Coroner’s Court to social media posts and concerns that Wilcox’s death was linked to DWP’s actions, and asked the coroner to secure the necessary documents relating to his PIP claim from DWP, but when the inquest took place on 24 April 2020, no evidence from DWP or its private sector contractor Atos was included. A council officer had also alerted the coroner to comments Wilcox had posted on social media about his PIP claim. The inquest lasted only 18 minutes, with the coroner making no mention of DWP or Atos in her findings and conclusions. The proceedings at the inquest would only emerge in late 2021.
Why significant: Another case in which a coroner has ignored evidence of links between DWP and the death of a benefit claimant, choosing not to seek evidence from the department or ask its officials to give evidence at the inquest.