Disabled Scottish father takes his life hours after DWP suspended benefits over bank statement error
A disabled Scottish father committed suicide just hours after seeing his benefits suspended by the DWP following a bank statement error.
Maxwell Quinton left a haunting note to his wife Andrina and son Harry begging them to “tell the benefit system what they’re doing to people like me.”
The 54-year-old, who suffered from sciatica, COPD, depression and a blood disorder called hemochromatosis, tragically committed suicide in Glenrothes, Fife on April 13.
The former welder, who had received government support for the past 20 years due to his poor health, has reportedly become increasingly forgetful in recent months.
After taking a lump sum from a small private pension, the grandfather was asked to submit bank statements to the DWP.
But Maxwell, affectionately known as Big Maxi, was not sent to them on time, meaning his personal independence payment was suspended last month.
Widow Andrina shared how her husband struggled with his sanity before receiving the letter telling him about the latest drop in benefits.
The 54-year-old said: “From January 1 of this year to April 13, I think he was admitted seven or eight times to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy after taking drug overdoses.
“After his last attempt in March, they didn’t let him out and cut him up. They said that due to the importance of this attempt, they had no choice but to keep him for 10 days.
“It was exactly four weeks after his release that he did what he did.
“That morning he had an appointment with the doctor at 10:40 am. When he came back from the doctor, I asked how he was and he told me everything was fine.
“That’s when the mail arrived and he got the letter from DWP telling him his money was on hold.
“The hemochromatosis was making him pretty drowsy and all he wanted was to fall asleep, so I left him with a plan to come back downstairs later and bring him his tea.
“I called him later to tell him I was going downstairs, but he said I had just woken him up. I told him to call me later and I would bring him some food.
“We were on the phone a few times after that until his son Harry and I got the last call from him around 10:45 pm.
Andrina tried to calm the father-of-one, who also has three stepchildren, and promised to help him with the DWP papers.
But after realizing she was too late to help him, she frantically called her daughter Denise Lomas in Dundee who alerted the police.
Tragically, Maxwell had passed away shortly thereafter.
Andrina, who lived at a different address than Maxwell, added: “I told her to get on the road and we would get everything sorted with the DWP in the morning and I would get the bank statements they wanted.
“I panicked and called my daughter Denise in Dundee and she called the police. She then received a call asking her to get off at the station.
“Then she called me from there and told me Maxi was away. Harry and I ran to where we knew he was and there was a police car stopping someone.
“I asked if I could bring him a blanket so he wouldn’t get cold. I was in total shock and just couldn’t figure out that he was dead.
“I found these letters on the way up to clean his house.
“He left one for his mother, one for his friends, and one for Harry and me.”
“His decision had to be totally taken. He asked me to make sure I told the benefit system what it was doing to people like him.
“The letter from the DWP was dated April 9, but he received it on the 13th and did what he did later that day.
“His money was due on Wednesday and this letter arrived on Tuesday, so he knew he wouldn’t have received any money.
“Maxi hadn’t been able to work for over 20 years because of his health, but he had a small private pension since he was a welder. He had taken a lump sum out of it and because of that, the DWP was asking for bank statements.
“But over the last year he was getting really forgetful and he had to write everything down for not doing it.”
In the heartbreaking note the family posted to the Daily Record, Maxi expressed her love for her family while asking them to share her story.
He wrote: “Nina, thank you for marrying me and giving me a loving son. Keep Harry on the right track. Let Harry know he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.
“I love you and Harry. Keep it good. Use whatever you need in my house. I love you forever. Maxi and dad.
“PS Don’t forget to tell the benefit system what it’s doing to people like me. Go see the papers to stop people like me from doing the same.
Daughter-in-law Denise Lomas recalled that she had “lost all the strength in her legs” after discovering that her beloved father had passed away suddenly.
She said, “I will never forget that night. My blood did not cool, it drained and I lost all strength in my legs. I lay in a corner crying for hours. It was horrible.
“I think the DWP has to find a system that works. For two years, dad was waiting for his first call which is just ridiculous. He had two years of worry and they haven’t stopped. They just kept pushing and pushing.
“They would take it out of the PIP, then put it back, then take it back and then put it back at a lower rate.
“It’s absolutely shameful. I offered to help him with his papers. I just wish I had gone there and done it and then instead of asking him to wait a few days. Maybe it just saved his life.
Paying tribute to her father, the 32-year-old added, “Dad was everything to us – the center of the family. He flourished as a family man. We had so many laughs with him.
“He loved Christmas because it was a family time. If we ever got into trouble, Dad always found a way around it. If we were all happy, so was he.
A DWP spokesperson said: “This is a tragic case and our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Quinton’s family.”
You can ask for help by contacting Samaritans 24/7 free of charge at 116 123 or by visiting Samaritans.org.
Help is also available from Breathing space on 0800 83 85 87.
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