Joy Worrall, 81, threw herself off Rhes-y-Cae quarry in Flintshire, North Wales, after the Department for Work and Pensions stopped her payments. Mrs Worrall’s son Ben Worrall said the DWP had “failed in their duty of care” and called it a “disgrace” that such a blunder could happen in modern society. An inquest into the pensioner’s death held today in Ruthin heard Mrs Worrall was fit and healthy and was inclined to keep private matters to herself.
In a statement written by Mr Worrall read to the inquiry, he described his mother as ”proud” and said she would not have relayed any financial difficulties to family members.
Mrs Worrall had received an inheritance in 2014 and notified the DWP about it.
In 2017 her pension was “re-assessed” and instead of only stopping pension credits, the DWP froze her ordinary state pension. This meant the pensioner was left without an income.
Before her death, the housewife had exhausted her £5,000 savings and was left with just £5 to live on.
Mr Worrall said his mother’s death came as a shock and had left him with many unanswered questions.
He said it was only when he started to look into her financial affairs that he began to learn about the DWP mix-up.
Mr Worrall said: “I feel as though there was a duty of care that was not fully carried out as it should’ve been, causing her to be in a situation where the only course of action was to end her life, which is a disgrace really.”
He said he would speak to his elderly mother three or four times a week and his last conversation with her was on November 19 last year.
Two days later he went to his mother’s cottage in Church Terrace, Rhes-y-Cae, after a friend contacted him asking where Mrs Worrall was.
Upon arrival, she was nowhere to be seen and her car was also missing.
Mr Worrall raised the alarm and a major search and rescue operation was launched which included a helicopter.
Police appealed to hill walkers for help and urged people living in the area to check their garden sheds.
On November 22 members of the North East Wales Search and Rescue who had assisted police in scouring the area found Mrs Worrall’s body at the base of the quarry.
The inquest heard the pensioner had said she would throw herself off a quarry if she was faced with a big health or financial concern.
A letter written by Suzanne Mitchelson of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was read out at the inquest. Apologising for the mistake, Ms Mitchelson said Mrs Worrall’s two pensions should have been “de-combined”.
Ms Mitchelson said: “I am sorry that due to an administrative error this did not happen.”
Coroner John Gittins recorded a verdict of suicide.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts call the Samaritans on 116 123.
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