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Calls for independent inquiry after man "starved to death"

Errol Graham Credit: BPM Media

MPs are calling for an independent inquiry after a man was found 'starved to death' at his Nottingham flat after his benefits were cut.

The body of Errol Graham was found at his home on June 20, 2018 when bailiffs arrived to evict him for failing to pay rent.

The 57-year-old weighed just four-and-a-half stone when he was found - the cause of his death was recorded as starvation.

At his Radford flat, there was no food found apart from a couple of out-of-date tins of fish.

His benefits were stopped in October 2017 after he had failed to attend a fit-for-work test a few weeks earlier.

Graham's family are now campaigning for justice as they blame the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for his death.

Lilian Greenwood, Labour MP for Nottingham South, represents the constituency where Mr Graham lived in Radford.

Lilian Greenwood backs calls for an independent inquiry into Errol Graham's death. Credit: PA

"I was absolutely shocked and horrified to hear that something like this could happen in our city in the 21st century."

– Lilian Greenwood, Labour MP Nottingham South

Lilian added: "Clearly the safety net systems in place have failed because people did not appreciate the situation he was in.

"I completely agree with calls for an independent inquiry but the really appalling thing is this is not the first time this has happened.

"There is an urgent need to review the DWP processes.

"Our thoughts are with Errol's family and friends. This must be very difficult to deal with.

"It shouldn't have been allowed to happen. The system let them down and we must ensure lessons are learned."

Alison Turner, the partner of Errol Graham’s son, put questions to DWP at the inquest and has fought for justice for him over the last two years.

Turner, who is disabled herself, said: “It’s truly shocking what the system does to people.

“I have lived in fear ever since wondering what the future holds for me as a disabled person, and my child who will also rely on the system for support, as her autism amongst other conditions means she is unlikely to be able to live independently.

“I truly fear that the failures that let my father-in-law down will one day fail me and my child.”

– Alison Turner

A spokeswoman for the DWP said: "This is a tragic, complex case and our sympathies are with Mr Graham’s family.

"We take this very seriously and have referred this to our Serious Case Panel, which includes independent members to help scrutinise and establish any lessons."