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Benefit Cuts Caused Disabled Yorkshire Man Nicholas Barker To Take His Life, Rules Coroner

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There have been widespread protests over the government's benefit cuts | Alamy

A man took his own life after worrying about how he would survive after his benefits were stopped, a coroner has said.

Nicholas Barker, a former farm labourer from Yorkshire, was already paralysed down the left side of his body after a brain haemorrhage more than a decade before.

He was found dead in his garden with a shotgun at his feet on December 10 last year, the

The 51-year-old had been due to attend an appeal hearing a week later against a decision to stop his benefits, his ex-wife told the inquest.

Linda Barker said: “He was going for a drink and seemed happy but he wanted me to help him go through his benefit papers because he was worried that he was going to be sent back to work.

“I told him not to worry as he wasn’t able to work and I said I would come and see him.”

Mr Barker's doctor submitted a note saying he had spoken with the 51-year-old who had been worried after the assessment ruled he did not qualify for certain benefits.

He died from his head injuries, according to coroner Michael Oakley who added: “The main factor worrying him was that his benefits had been stopped and had he attended the appeal he may have been successful, but it did not get that far,” he said. “It is evident that the matter was concerning him greatly.”

In December Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, called on the Prime Minister do more for disabled people after receiving a suicide note in the post from a man who had taken his own life after finding out he was no longer entitled to employment and support allowance and disability benefits.

"Across the UK there are over 1,000 people who have died only months after being told to find work," he told the Commons, adding that he did not want to name the man in question because he wished to respect his family's privacy.

"This is 2012. We are supposed to be a civilised society. We should be looking after the disabled citizens."

ian lavery

Labour MP Ian Lavery

Commenting on the death of Nicholas Barker, Mr Lavery told the Huffington Post UK: "This unfortunate case is not uncommon. The frightening reality is we will never know how many individuals have and will resort to this most drastic action.

"These people can not see any way forward at all, they live to exist, without luxury, often choosing between eating and heating. What type of civilised nation would allow sick and disabled people to feel that insecure that they choose to end their life. It's so sad it's gut-wrenching politics. It is a class issue."

Scotland's Evening Times reported earlier in March that thousands of people have inundated Glasgow's Citizen's Advice Bureau seeking help over government benefit changes, with many telling staff and volunteers they were contemplating suicide.

If you've been affected by the issues in this article, please call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

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