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Double amputee killed himself after benefits slashed, say anguished family

Double amputee killed himself after benefits slashed, say anguished family

Mark Cotton, a double amputee died in an apparent suicide less than 48 hours after being told an allowance to pay his carer was being slashed by two thirds, claims his sister.

The Telegraph and Argus report: Mark Cotton, 54, had lost both his legs due to a medical condition and relied on paid help which had been agreed with the authorities.

But he was visited for a re-assessment and four days later received a telephone call to say the allowance for paid care was being cut from nine hours a week to only three.

Fewer than 48 hours later he was found dead at his home in Sevenoaks Mead, Allerton, Bradford, after apparently taking an overdose of the painkillers he needed because of his illness.

His sister Jjeneen Sherington said he had left a note and hit out: “They are the cause of his death in my eyes.

“He would still have been here if this hadn’t happened”.

Mr Cotton lost one leg in 2010 and returned to work in a teaching role after that but his deteriorating health meant his remaining leg was amputated in 2012.

Even before the second amputation he had needed care and Jjeneen was paid for nine hours a week, though said in reality she spent more time assisting him and could not work as a result.

“When he was told he was being re-assessed he thought because his circumstances were worse, they might give him more money.

“Then they phoned to say they were reducing his money,” she said.

That worked out as a reduction in paid for care from nine to three hours a week, she said, and during his re-assessment interview, Mark had been asked if he could do his own ironing while sitting down, one of the tasks normally done by his sister.

“We were going to fight the decision, through Citizens’ Advice and his MP,” she said.

“He had loved his work and wanted to get back to a job. He had put himself through university and had started a course to learn a foreign language in the hope of being able to teach that, but his health meant he had to give it up.

“He had always worked and put into the country, but this was what he got back.

“The paramedics said he must have been in a lot of pain, because of the medication he had been given,” she said.

A spokesman for Bradford Council said: “We are aware of the tragic death of Mr Cotton, who was known to Bradford Adult Services, and our thoughts are with his family.

“Investigations will be carried out into the circumstances of this case and it would be inappropriate to comment until those investigations have been completed,” he said.

West Yorkshire Police confirmed that a 54-year-old man was found dead after a call was made for an ambulance at 8.17am on Thursday, with no suspicious circumstances.