A mother threatened with eviction from the home where her son committed suicide under the government's controversial bedroom tax rules hanged herself on the same spot, an inquest heard.
Frances McCormack, aged 53, was harassed for the tax by authorities following the death of her son, Jack Allen, who killed himself aged 16 in 2013, the Daily Mirror reported. An eviction notice arrived on the same day her body was found, on August 10, 2015. A handwritten note addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron was found in her bedroom, describing the hardship the tax had caused, a Doncaster inquest heard.
Close friend Natalie Richardson discovered the body of Mrs McCormack, a school cook, at her home in Maltby, near Rotherham.
"Frances had spoken to me previously about the property," she told the inquest. "She wanted to buy into it, it was where the three boys were raised and where Jack took his last breaths, ate his last meal and spoke his last words. She was a very strong woman, very strong-minded. I felt she was getting a lot better with herself. She had decided to go out a bit more, she had started going to the gym, she was very focused and always had something to do.
"She never gave me any kind of inkling and was strong for me when my partner passed away. She was my rock."
Assistant Doncaster coroner, Mark Beresford, recorded a narrative verdict saying she may have been trying to pressurise the council with a "staged arrangement" which went tragically wrong. He said: "The method was strikingly similar to that in which Jack ended his life, by which a powerful message could be sent, possibly to the authority dealing with her eviction, providing Ms McCormack with persuasive ammunition. The question of whether she intended to take her own life remains unclear. She was a strong willed woman and a good loving mother. This was a totally unseen body blow to the family."
Prior to her death, Ms McCormack helped Rotherham Council with its suicide prevention work.
A Department for Work and Pensions Spokesman said: "Our sympathies are with the family of Ms McCormack. This is a tragic and complex issue and it would be misleading to link it to one cause.
"We know that bereavement is a very difficult time for people, which is why the removal of the spare room subsidy does not apply for a year when there is a death in the household."