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  1. ITV Report

Coroner calls for new rules after teenager 'killed himself after Wonga cleaned out his bank account'

It's claimed Kane, 18, was left 'destitute' after money was withdrawn from his account. Credit: Disability News Service.

A disabled teenager from Greater Manchester took his own life on the same day pay-day loans company Wonga emptied his bank account, a coroner’s report has said.

Kane Sparham-Price, 18, from Ashton-under-Lyne, was left "destitute" after Wonga withdrew the cash under a lawful debt agreement.

Now the South Manchester coroner, John Pollard, has written to the Financial Conduct Authority, the industry regulator, asking for a change in the rules.

He's called for a "minimum amount" to be left in the accounts of those affected.

“Whilst I accept that the various pay-day lenders are legally entitled to ‘clear out’ someone’s bank account if money is owing to them [through a continuous payment authority], it struck me that there ought to be a statutory minimum amount which MUST be left in an account (SAY £10) to avoid absolute destitution; and as I understand you set and regulate the rules, you might look at this with a view to preventing further deaths.”

– John Pollard, coroner for South Manchester

Stefan Williams is thought to have been the last person to have been in contact with Kane.

Mr Williams believes the debt issues had a big impact on his friend.

There’s no suggestion Wonga acted unlawfully or was aware their actions left the teenager penniless.

Wonga said it takes its responsibilities to its customers "very seriously".

“We were sorry to hear of the tragic death of Mr Sparham-Price.

“We take our responsibilities to our customers very seriously and we have strict lending criteria in place.

“We conducted a full review of this case at the time to confirm we acted according to regulatory guidelines and to continue to improve our engagement with customers.

“If customers are in difficulty we urge them to contact us as we have a range of forbearance measures in place to help them during difficult circumstances.”

– Wonga statement