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New inquest sought into death of David Clapson

Relatives of David Clapson, the former soldier who died in 2013 after his benefits were sanctioned, are seeking a fresh coroner’s investigation into his death.

Clapson, a diabetic, died as a result of not taking his insulin shots. However, it was found that because his benefits had been sanctioned he had no money for electricity to keep his insulin chilled and also had no money for food.

A coroner previously ruled that Clapson’s death was due to natural causes.

However, his family are arguing that it was an unnatural death because one of the main causes was the actions of the DWP in cutting his benefits, in spite of being aware of his insulin dependence. They are also claiming that there is a strong public interest in having the matter examined because of the degree of concern connected with the issue of benefit sanctions and the need to learn lessons from mistakes made.

Solicitors Leigh Day stated on their website:

“The role played by the imposition of a benefit sanction in Mr. Clapson’s death, the systems in place to manage the risks posed by benefit sanctions to those who receive them, and the decision-making of DWP staff when imposing benefit sanctions on vulnerable and at-risk individuals, are of wider public importance and are matters of significant public concern. These matters have been considered in a number of reviews and reports, which support Ms. Thompson’s submissions on the strong public interest in this case.”

Almost £17,000 to help pay legal costs was raised by crowdfunding site Crowdjustice.

Clapson’s sister Gill Thompson said:

“Although this cannot change things for David, I will continue the campaign to help prevent further deaths and suffering on the vulnerable and sick in our society by the use of unjust sanctions.

“I would like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support throughout this campaign, and wonderful and heartfelt words of comfort, without this support we could not hope to make these changes.”

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