Man's suicide over £15 debt.
A man killed himself in despair over a debt of just
£15, an inquest heard.
Christoper Aarons 22, had been heard by a neighbour arguing with a man in the street
outside his home. He told the man: "I'd rather die than pay you your money back"
An hour later his mother Rosemary Boote returned to their home in Thetford,
Norfolk, from a shopping trip and found her son hanging
from an open lift hatch.
Christopher had just got a new job and a girlfriend after years of self-harm,
glue sniffing and drug abuse, the Norwich inquest heard.
But Coroner William Armstrong said: "Clearly, he was in a disturbed frame of mind." Verdict
The Sun. New Year's Eve 2005
A bank worker killed himself by lying in front of a freight
train near Swindon after running up a 100.000 debt on eight
credit cards, an inquest was told yesterday.
The Wiltshire Coroner recorded a verdict of suicide on Nicolas Bizley, 51, who kept his mounting debt a secret from his wife Lisa.
The Times: Wed; 12. 7. 06
The following was published in the Daily Mirror dated 16.02.2006.
Credit firms lent them thousands..they paid with their lives
BRITAIN is a nation in debt, and it's killing us. Last week Ian Beech, a father of two, apparently committed suicide
after the Halifax won a court order to evict his family and repossess their home.
Ian, 47, who owed less than £5.000, is the latest in a catalogue of cases where people unable to face their debt
any longer have felt driven to take their own lives.
"There's strong evidence that debt is related to depression, which has led many people to commit suicide," says John
Elwes of the Money Action Trust.
The Financial Services Authority recently warned of "growing distress" among consumers as they struggle to cope with
debt totalling £1.1 trillion.
The number of people declaring themselves insolvent has risen by 95% per cent in the past year, bankruptcies are up by
nearly a third and home possession orders have jumped by nearly 50 per cent, according to the FSA.
Now the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, which works with people in debt, is calling for more responsible lending
by all credit companies.
Frances Walker of the CCCS says: "We get thousands of calls from people who are frightened and confused at the situation
they find themselves in.
"One of the worst cases we have come across is an 80-year-old woman who racked up £35.000 of debt on store cards
and loans. Now she's at her wits end, with no idea how to pay it off.
Frances Walker says: "Banks are making headway in sharing data to ensure they're not lending to people who can't afford
to get into debt.
"But many consolidation loan companies and some credit card lenders are still targeting people with television ads and
mail-outs who cannot afford repayments.
"The problem is that sales staff have targets to reach so they can get their bonuses, and that often means selling loans
to people who can't afford them.
"We want all creditors, whether they are banks, credit card or loan companies, to make sure their customers are able
to repay their loans before agreeing to lend money.
Today the Daily Mirror tells the stories of Ian Beech and nine others for whom debt became an overwhelming burden.
Ian Beech £4,715
The 47-year-old salesman from Wiggenhall St Germans, Norfolk, apparently committed
suicide last week by taking painkillers, drinking whisky and walking into the sea.
His father, John, said: "Ian had a mortgage
for £99.000 yet the property was worth £180.000. He was four or five months behind, but the way the Halifax pursued
vhim was inhumane."
A Halifax spokesman said it was a tragic
case and repossession was "always a last resort".
Geraint Banks-Wilkinson £1,000
GERAINT, a 20-year-old student from Bridgend, South Wales, hanged himself last month.
His mother, Marian, said: "He was
worried by the letters that came from the bank.
"I'd forwarded them, but he never got
around to opening them.
"He was a lovely and talented boy
and we, his family, are utterly heartbroken."
Jeremy Brooks, £50,000
The 32-year-old IT manager from Newcastle jumped from a sixth-floor window in June 2004.
Detective Constable Jason Cowell said:
"We found his computer and £6,000 internet searches had been carried out on the word 'suicide'."
Friends and colleagues described
Jeremy as a generous, outgoing man who would play his electric guitar in his office.
Richard Cullen, £130.000
The 65-year-old mechanic from Trowbridge, Wiltshire, gassed himself in his car in the family
garage in January 2005.
Widow Wendy, 65, said: "It's wicked. Richard and the bank must
have had contact with each other, they must have known how in debt he was. They should never have let this happen."
Mark McDonald, DEBT: £65,000
MARION McDonald this week spent her second Valentine's Day without the man she loved.
Her husband Mark, a 43-year-old technical writer and
father of two, killed himself after amassing debts of over £65,000.
Grieving Marion, 47, a teaching assistant, says: "Mark
just wanted to be a good dad and provide for his family.
"He seemed to be so in charge of himself - he
wasn't out drinking or spending loads of money on luxury items. But he liked to come home with flowers or buy me a cuddly
toy if we were shopping.
"I just feel it's a waste of a man everybody
Marion, who lives with their children
Jenny 15, and Aidan, 13, in Downham Market, Norfolk, never suspected the truth.
"We had separate accounts,"
she says, "so I didn't know what was going on. Bank statements came through the door and I just piled his envelopes up and
left him to do it."
But in January last year Mark
was found lying dead on a railway line, lying near a bag full of bills. He'd killed himself out of desperation, owing thousands
on credit cards, loans and store cards. The McDonalds had remortgaged their home, and Marion thought all was well.
"Mark thought he'd pay off the debt later,"
she says. "But he never got his head above water. He was only paying minimum amounts on credit card bills. If somebody's running
up a lot of debt but not paying it off, alarm bells should ring. But they didn't blacklist him."
Marion is angered by companies who allow
customers to think debt is an easy ride. Still shaken by her loss, she only keeps a credit card for emergencies.
"It's so dangerous, especially with the
TV adverts that claim you can borrow all this money which will fulfil your dreams," she says. "Parents need to make their
kids aware of the risks."
She is now back at work, but the debt remains.
"Department stores wrote off the smaller amounts that Mark had run up on cards," she says, "but I'm still waiting to know
what the banks will do."
Marion was trusting by nature, but
now she has a strong message for people with money trouble: "Open your partner's post. It's not easy - like suspecting your
husband of having an affair when he's not.
"But I didn't think we were
in danger, and look what happened."
Dereck Rawson £100.000
A 51-YEAR-OLD forklift truck driver, Dereck hanged himself in Yaxley, Cambridgeshire, in May
His sister Sheila sain: "No one should be able
to accumulate so many cards as Dereck had.
"There should be tighter controls on credit allowed
to individuals without equity to cover it."
Stephen Lewis, £70,000
STEPHEN, a 37-year-old from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, hanged himself in July 2004.
His widow, Susan, said: "I just couldn't
believe a person could have that much debt.
I met Tony Blair to demand tougher curbs on credit.
If something good comes out of Stephen's death, we'll have achieved something worthwhile."
Lisa Taylor, £7,882
THE 26-year-old politics graduate from Blackburn Lancs, hanged herself last July.
Lisa's brother, Mark, said: "I simply
don't understand how banks can sit back and watch someone getting into an helpless situation like this while all the time
threatening legal action."
"I know she got a lot of letters
and took the threats seriously.
"She believed she had to pay there
Scott Smith, £15,000
SCOTT, 21, a part-time worker from Catfield, Norfolk hanged himself in August 2004.
His father, Steve, 56, said: "We thought he was
homesick or something - the sort of thing many 21-year-olds go through. Now he's dead and we can't find an answer to it.
"It was the banks that put more than one nail
in his coffin. Scott had problems - like any kid - but nothing that couldn't be sorted.
"When you're struggling you're not given
a solution. You just get hounded with letters demanding payments."
How to cope with a cash crisis
WRITE down your outgoings so you can see where your money is going. Once you have decided how
much you can afford to spend, stick to it.
If you cannot afford repayments on a loan or credit card, contact your bank and explain the situation.
They can't help if they don't know there's a problem.
Use direct debits for regular outgoings such as rent or mortgage and council tax.
Always try to save something, even a few pounds every month, for holidays or Christmas.
If you can pay for something with cash, don't be tempted to buy on credit unless it saves you
money in the long term.
Don't be ashamed - seek professional help.