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1994 articles

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The quotes provided are normally directly from the original article, but typically whole sentences and paragraphs are omitted, often without indicating where the omission is, but without altering the order of presentation. In some cases people's names are removed, and replaced thus "[X]".

Date & reference Extracts (not necessarily contiguous)

1994-01-19
The Daily Express

(From NACSA BOTD)

The controversial Child Support Agency came under fresh fire last night after another family tragedy. Mother-of-two [X] was stabbed to death and her estranged husband [Y] tried to kill himself. Detectives questioning him at his hospital bedside yesterday wanted to know if the drama was linked in any way with a massive maintenance demand he had received from the CSA 24 hours earlier.

Ken Mayo, of the National campaign for Fair Maintenance, said: "The Government must act, Ministers are presiding over a growing catalogue of tragedy. The CSA should be renamed the Child Orphaning Agency. Thousands of people in second marriages are being driven to the edge by it." Mr [Y], married for 20 years, left his wife after an affair five months ago. His mother said: "They were getting divorced." His close friend [Z] added: "He would go to the end of the earth for his children. There was never any question of him abandoning them so I don’t understand why the CSA was chasing him."

1994-03-25
The Daily Express

(From NACSA BOTD)

So far five fathers have committed suicide because they could not afford to pay huge demands, say protesters. The latest victim was 35-year-old [A] who was found hanged in his council house in Rutherglen, Glasgow, on Saturday.

He had been told to hand over all but £12 of his £39.90 unemployment and sickness benefit to support his two young children. Mr [A]’s brother, [B], 39, said: "It is all because he was hounded by the CSA."

1994-03-25
The Daily Express

(From NACSA BOTD)

[C], a 38-year-old technician, gassed himself in his car in Sunderland when he was unable to afford new agency demands. His father [D] branded the CSA ‘a disgrace’.

1994-03-25
The Daily Express

(From NACSA BOTD)

A 37-year-old civilian working with Humberside police was found dead in his car shortly after the CSA contacted him. A hose pipe was attached to the exhaust. His mother, Mrs [E], 56, said: "He had been having terrible trouble with the CSA. He told me they were trying to take very penny."

1994-04-29
Today

(From NACSA BOTD)

A young father hanged himself after the Child Support Agency said his maintenance payments were to be trebled, an inquest heard yesterday. A CSA letter found at the flat of [X] said his £10 a week voluntary payment was going up to £27.75 – and there were arrears of £578.

West Somerset coroner Michael Rose said the letter would have had a frightening effect on the 23-year-old computer operator. He is to ‘make representations’ to the agency, after hearing how Mr [X] was later reassessed to pay ex-girlfriend [Y] only £12.85 a week for their four-year-old daughter [Z]. Recording a verdict of suicide, the Coroner said: "I can’t help wondering whether I would be sitting here today if the right figures had been arrived at earlier."

1994-05-07
The Daily Mirror

(From NACSA BOTD)

A verdict of suicide was recorded in November on Birmingham prison worker, [X]. In May of this year [X] received a CSA demand for £2,500 maintenance arrears and shortly afterwards he took an overdose of sleeping tablets. At the inquest his brave mother, Mrs [Y], said: "... the letter from the CSA was on the top of the pile of suicide notes. I feel very bitter."

John Spellar MP (Labour, Warley West) said: "The CSA appears to have no understanding of the devastating effect that massive demands for arrears can have."

1994-05-18
The Daily Mail

(From NACSA BOTD)

A coroner blamed a mistake by the CSA yesterday for triggering a father’s death from an overdose of drink and drugs. A maintenance demand for £3,000 – three times higher than it should have been – was found beside the body of hospital nurse [X], 55. "It was the letter that proved the trigger that led to his death," said coroner David Wadman, who recorded a suicide verdict. "It is a sorry state of affairs. Had the true situation been put to him, who knows what would have been?"

Mauritius-born Mr [X] had split from his wife [Y], a GP’s receptionist, but they agreed not to involve the CSA as he paid £9,000-a-year for the private education of his nine-year-old son and daughter of 13, an inquest heard at Eastbourne, Sussex. The CSA became involved when Mrs [Y] was unemployed for two months and claimed income support. CSA official Colin Oudot said the agency was not required to take into account Mr [X]’s contribution for schooling. The letter was generated by computer and sent out automatically but should have demanded only £1,000

1994-05-29
The Independent

(From NACSA BOTD)

[X], an engineer from Longthorpe in Gloucestershire apparently decided he could take no more, having received the usual ‘pay up or else’ threatening letters from the CSA. It’s reported that he wired up his wrists to a high voltage circuit, threw a switch and electrocuted himself.

1994-08-04
The Daily Telegraph

(From NACSA BOTD)

A married executive who was secretly paying maintenance for an illegitimate baby killed himself after receiving a letter from the Child Support Agency and fearing he was about to be exposed, a Southampton inquest heard yesterday. On the day he received the letter, he sought immediate legal advice on the payments and whether he could keep the matter from his wife. But when he was told that all other CSA documents would be sent to his home, he told a trainee legal executive: "Maybe I should commit suicide."

1994-09-06
The Independent

(From NACSA BOTD)

A loving husband died in his fume-filled car after he was forced to leave his second wife because of demands from the Child Support Agency, an inquest heard yesterday. The inquest at Cannock, Staffs, was told that Mr [X], 34, formerly of Coalpit Lane, Brereton, Staffs, became depressed after the CSA started to investigate his affairs and bombarded him with letters about his first wife. He was found dead in his car surrounded by letters from the CSA. A hose pipe led from the exhaust into the vehicle.

His second wife, Mrs [Y], said in a statement that she and her husband had enjoyed a happy marriage until he started to receive letters from the CSA about nine weeks before his death. The letters had worried and depressed him. Mr Reginald Browning, the South Staffordshire Coroner, recorded an open verdict after being told that Mr [X] had appeared to be his usual self shortly before his death. Mr Browning said there was no evidence as to what was in his mind at the time.

1994-09-03
The Daily Telegraph

(From NACSA BOTD)

Miss [X], 30, a business studies student of Cheadle, Staffs, died from a drugs overdose in July 1994. Mr [Y], her common-law husband, blamed the CSA for hounding him. He said: " She seemed to blame herself for our problem because she was not out earning money."

1994-09-19
The Times

(From NACSA BOTD)

Detective Constable [X], married and aged 31, strangled his seven months pregnant mistress, [Y] and then gassed himself in his own car. According to reports the tragedy occurred following Ms [Y]’s threat to contact the CSA after the baby was born. Later DNA testing revealed that [X] was not in fact the father of the child. This is believed to be the second occasion where murder (or at least attempted murder) and a suicide have occurred simultaneously as a result of threatened CSA involvement.

1994-10-??
Evening Argus

(From NACSA BOTD)

A hard-up father worried about the Child Support Agency was found dead at a Sussex beauty spot, an inquest heard. [X] was found floating in a pool along the Cuckoo Trail, a mile from his terraced house in Harebeating Drive, Horsebridge, near Hailsham.

A postmortem showed he probably drowned. Mr [X]’s brother, [Y], of Howlett Drive, Hailsham, said the unemployed builder was worried about a letter he had received from the Child Support Agency in April. But at the time of his death on October 25 the agency had dropped the maintenance request and he owed no money. Mr [Y] said: "He’d been divorced for 15 years and had a daughter. A few months before he had received a letter from the CSA. He was worried about it. He was also worried about his health and was convinced he was dying. There was nothing wrong with him as far as I knew. He had met a girl and was happy. He had used all his savings and was worried about that."

1994-10-28
The Daily Mail

(From NACSA BOTD)

A fireman involved in a long and bitter dispute with the Child Support Agency has been found hanged. Close friend [X], 52, said Mr [Y] had told him payments to his ex-wife, by whom he had a ten-year-old son, had trebled to £90 a week since the CSA had become involved.

It is understood that at a divorce hearing last week Mr [Y] was ordered to pay a total of £50,000 in maintenance – although it is not known at what rate this is to be paid. Another friend said: "With everything that had gone on with the CSA, the court case was the last straw. He had put his house up for sale to try to pay the money."

1994-11-03
The Electronic Telegraph

CSA urged to accept clean-break agreements

By Julie Kirkbride, Political Staff

FATHERS who made "clean-break" settlements with their wives before the start of the Child Support Agency should have their maintenance payments reduced, an MPs' report said yesterday. The proposal would ease the burden on about 50,000 men on middle incomes who settled with their partners by handing over property in lieu of maintenance.

It is one of the key recommendations in the Social Security Select Committee's report. The report further proposed that the maintenance formula should also take account of travel-to-work costs of the absent parent and that step-children in a father's second family should be included when assessing maintenance payments to the first. However, it also said that two ways in which absent parents could seek to pay less should be barred. First, assessments of the self-employed should be made on last year's tax returns to avoid the present situation where some could avoid liability for maintenance altogether. Second, standard housing allowances by region should be introduced so that housing costs could not be inflated to reduce liability.

1994-11-25
The Independent

(From NACSA BOTD)

[X], father of a three-year-old boy, was found dead in a fume-filled car shortly after receiving cash demands from the CSA. [X], aged 23 from Sandwell Valley, West Bromwich told his girlfriend, [Y], that the agency could "stuff the money". He went on a two-day spending spree and then killed himself.

1994-12-17
Cambridgeshire Town Crier

(From NACSA BOTD)

A man found hanging in the Coneygeare area of Eynesbury last month killed himself while suffering from depression. An inquest at Huntingdon on Tuesday was told that at the time of his death he was divorcing his wife and had debts to clear.

He was also receiving letters from the Child Support Agency. Mr [X] had been married twice before and had three children. His girlfriend, [Y], said: "He was always kind but in the last few weeks he had been quiet and had been ignoring letters from the CSA. His biggest problem was with his children. He always wanted to do the right thing by them but he was constantly battling with ‘red tape’. Why could the CSA not see that?"

1994-12-21
The Electronic Telegraph

Child agency shelves third of its cases

By Jon Hibbs, Political Staff

THE Child Support Agency is to shelve indefinitely the pursuit of some 350,000 fathers in an attempt to cope with its growing backlog. It has decided to postpone cases involving mothers caring for children who were receiving income support before April 1993, when the agency started work. Pursuit of those mothers who have not co-operated in assessing absent fathers' liability will also be suspended. Although the agency reserved the right to resume attempts to track down those absent fathers given a temporary reprieve, the expectation at Westminster last night was that it would prove to be long-lasting. Officials could give no date for the resumption of investigations, confirming that about one-third of all the cases already identified by the CSA will be put on the shelf until it has sorted out a more efficient way of processing the new cases brought to its attention.

It was the latest embarrassment for an organisation that has been dogged by controversy throughout its first 18 months. MPs of all parties say their mailbags have been inundated with complaints about the agency and the financial demands made on separated fathers who may have second families to support.

1994-12-22
The Electronic Telegraph

Ministers line up New Year reforms for child agency

By Philip Johnston, Political Correspondent

FURTHER reforms of the Child Support Agency are to be introduced in the New Year as the Government seeks to contain the crisis besetting the troubled operation. Ministers have not yet agreed which of the proposed reforms should be adopted. But measures are being drawn up in the Social Security department with the aim of finally resolving the agency's difficulties. Mr Peter Lilley, the Social Security Secretary, has told officials to ensure that the next round of changes address all the key issues. An announcement is expected before the end of next month.

Confirmation that additional changes are in the pipeline came as the Government faced renewed criticism over the CSA's decision to shelve one-third of its cases against fathers while it deals with a huge backlog of work. Labour said the CSA - which is to postpone some 350,000 cases - was in terminal chaos. Mr Donald Dewar, party spokesman, said he was "flabbergasted" by the move. It was "a panic measure of the worst sort".

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Page last updated: 17 December, 2003 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003