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Mentally ill man found dead on beach after his sickness benefits were removed

"What's the point?": David Metcalf is said to have been feeling 'frustrated and upset' after being found 'fit for work' by the DWP.

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A man who had been suffering with mental health problems for many years has been found dead on a beach in England, after being found ‘fit for work’ by the Department for Work and Pensions and told his sickness benefits were being removed.

David Metcalf, 54, was found dead on the beach near Horden, County Durham, on the 3rd January, just four days after being examined by a mental health practitioner at his home in Hartlepool.

In his report, the mental health practitioner Leighann Fishpool said: “David was signed off sick for nine years due to anxiety, stress and panic attacks.

“He has recently been deemed fit for work and told he would need to go to the JobCentre to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.

“He said he was frustrated and upset and thought ‘What’s the point?’

“He feels he needs someone to go with him to the JobCentre so they can sort this out for him.

“He feels frustrated at having his benefits stopped and finds it difficult to communicate with staff at the JobCentre.”

Mr Metcalf was not known to have any family and was described by coroner Crispin Oliver as “a somewhat solitary individual”.

Related News: DWP tells woman with Dementia she can ‘care for herself’ and removes her benefits

Concerns were raised after Mr Metcalf handed his car keys and bank documents to a garage owner, who is believed to have been his only acquaintance, saying he would no longer need them.

Mr Metcalf was found still dressed in a jumper, coat and gloves, but was not wearing any socks or underwear. However, Detective Sgt Gary Davison told the hearing that he didn’t think this was particularly unusual.

The inquest heard that a post-mortem showed signs of drowning and hypothermia.

The Hartlepool Mail reports that Mr Metcalf had denied any intention to harm himself, and the coroner said it was unclear as to whether he had entered the sea accidentally or deliberately.

Without clear evidence that Mr Metcalf had intended to commit suicide when entering the sea, Coroner Mr Oliver recorded an ‘open verdict’.

“I simply cannot come to the conclusion beyond reasonable doubt that he intended to kill himself and, therefore, the suicide conclusion is not available,” he said.

“Despite the best efforts of the police, there is no conclusive evidence as to how Mr Metcalf came to be in the sea.

“Accordingly, and I say this with regret, but this is an inquest that must record an open conclusion and that is what it will do.”


If you have been affected by the issues raised in this article and need support you can contact the Samaritans free by calling 116 123 (UK & ROI) or visit their website for more information. 


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Here in the US, my best friend has a profoundly autistic non-verbal daughter who is now 47. Every single year of her whole life, she has to go thru a huge investigation to make sure her daughter is still autistic. It’s very stressful for my friend. And ridiculous.

    • Really ! do these idiots think that a non verbal autistic child who has grown into a adult will suddenly become normal , god give me strength ,what idiots or just plain ignorant twats maybe , and terrible for your friend to go through that every year , bet she would give anything for her child to become normal , dam disgrace

      • Last year was the worst. The new case manager insisted Bibi had to have a California ID card. It’s the same as a drivers license except it’s just for ID. Well, you have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles for it, just like a drivers license. Now, we’re talking about a girl who weighs about 250 who will not stay where she doesn’t want to be. She will not be forced into a doctor’s office or dentist’s office. My friend has had to chase her down the street more than once. Anyway, they were able to make special arrangements at the DMV and got thru the ordeal fairly quickly and luckily Bibi cooperated. My friend was a wreck. And the worst part? At the meeting, the case manager barely glanced at the card.

  2. So let’s get this straight. A man with a long history of severe mental health issues has his benefits removed, so leaves his worldly possessions with a man he knew, the garage owner, saying he ‘has no need of them any more’, then is found dead on a beach and the official conclusion is an ‘open verdict’. How lucky for the DWP that they don’t have to add his name to the rapidly growing number of people who have either died or committed suicide in despair because the State decided to remove what little support they have and deem them ‘fit for work.’ How many people have to die this way before the DWP realise their punitive system is simply evil, or do they just not care?

  3. Filthy rotten scumbag Tory parasites living the high life at expense of people like David. Thick as a brick Duncan Dick with his phoney ‘qualifications’ (anyone else would have been prosecuted) should have choked on his £39 breakfast. One slug less to step over.

  4. Yet another sick person takes his own life. never mind the Coroner recording an open verdict. The poor soul either had to starve to death, or go quickly. and there are tens of thousands of others out there who probably have thoughts of suicide. All because this Government leave them penniless.Our own law states each individual is entitled to a minimum amount to live one. How can this lot therefore keep reducing folks to penury? May this man rest in peace.

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