Inquest finds woman killed herself after being stressed due to 'bedroom tax'

An inquest has found a woman from Solihull killed herself after she became upset about moving out of her house because of the so-called bedroom tax. Doreen Bottrill, who was also known as Stephanie, died in May last year when she walked in front of a lorry on a motorway.

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Brother: 'Bedroom tax' was suicide excuse sister was looking for

The brother of a woman from Solihull who killed herself and left a note behind saying it was because of the so-called 'bedroom tax', has defended the housing policy.

Kevin Owens said it may have just been the excuse to kill herself that she had been looking for.

An inquest ruled today that Doreen Bottrill killed herself after becoming stressed about moving house, as she didn't want to pay the subsidy for having a spare room.

But the coroner's court also heard she had tried to commit suicide before, and had a history of depression.

Read: Solihull woman killed herself after 'bedroom tax' worry

Inquest finds woman killed herself after stress over 'bedroom tax'

Doreen Bottrill's home in Solihull Credit: ITV News Central

An inquest has found that a woman from Solihull killed herself after becoming anxious and stressed about moving out of her house because of the so-called 'bedroom tax'.

52-year-old Doreen Bottrill, who was also known as Stephanie, climbed over a safety barrier and walked out in front of a lorry on the M6 motorway on 4 May 2013.

The coroner recorded a conclusion of suicide over her death, saying:

Given the evidence of notes left of her intention, I am satisfied she intended to take her own life.

– Zafar Siddique, Area coroner for Birmingham and Solihull

The inquest heard a statement from Ms Bottrill's GP, Dr Bindu Nair, who said Ms Bottrill saw her on the day before her death, and she had been "clear headed" and given a frank account of her history of anxiety.

She informed me she had called her children in the early hours of May 3 2013, saying she couldn't cope with the stress and wanted to end it all, and had written a note planning to jump off a bridge.

She expressed unhappiness at being pushed by the housing department to make a decision in half an hour, in reference to being made to move into a smaller property.

– Dr Bindu Nair's statement to coroner

Last year, Ms Bottrill's son claimed she had left a note blaming the Government for her death, due to the extra £20 per week she would have to pay due to the 'bedroom tax'.

Under these rules, residents have to pay a subsidy for spare rooms, or move into a smaller house.

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council said Ms Bottrill was not forced to move from her house, adding she would have received financial help to stay, and she had been offered 11 alternative houses and chosen two to decide on.

Dr Nair added in the statement to the coroner that Ms Bottrill was "happy to move but it was the way in which she was forced to make a decision" which had caused her "considerable anxiety and stress".

The inquest also heard that Ms Bottrill, of Meriden Drive, Kingshurst in Solihull, had a history of stress and depression since 1993, including previous attempts to kill herself.

A police investigation into the crash last May concluded there was nothing the lorry driver could have done to avoiding hitting Ms Bottrill.


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