Stephanie Bottrill
Stephanie Bottrill died after being struck by a lorry on the M6 last May. Family Handout

A verdict of suicide has been recorded at the inquest into the death of a woman who left a note blaming the government's "bedroom tax".

Stephanie Bottrill, 53, died after being hit by a lorry on the M6 near her home in Solihull in the West Midlands on 4 May, 2013.

Her death made national news after her son, Steven, claimed she took her life after complaining she "can't cope" having been told she must choose between having her benefits cut or moving to a smaller home, as home had two unused bedrooms. The benefits cut was part of the UK government's 'spare room subsidy' scheme.

In her suicide letter, Bottrill reassured her son not to blame himself for her death.

"It's my life, the only people to blame are the government," she wrote.

Her family said she spoke of her fears over losing £20 a week as a result of the so-called 'bedroom tax', even telling her children she wanted to "end it all" because of the stress.

Bottrill, who lived alone in her terrace house, went to go see a doctor at the request of her daughter-in-law.

In a statement to the court read out by Zafar Siddique, area coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Dr Bindu Nair said Bottrill gave a "clear-headed" account of her history of anxiety during the appointment.

"She informed me she had called her children in the early hours of May 3 2013, saying she couldn't cope with the stress and wanted to end it all, and had written a note planning to jump off a bridge," he said.

Nair added: "She expressed unhappiness at being pushed by the housing department to make a decision in half an hour, in reference to being made to move into a smaller property."

History of depression

Bottrill's brother, Kevin Owens, disputed whether her housing situation was the main motivation for her taking her own life.

Medical notes show Bottrill had been seeing both a neurologist and her GP for 10 years with "stress and depression from her life circumstances".

Owens told the BBC: "Much has been written about bedroom tax pushing her – it wasn't, because prior to that she'd attempted suicide before and that hadn't been reported.

"It might have been the catalyst to push her, but was it just an excuse she was looking for?"

Solihull Metropolitan Borough has denied there was ever a requirement forcing Bottrill to move homes, nor was she forced to make a decision to in 30 minutes.

A spokesperson added: "The last contact we had with Ms Bottrill (on 2 May 2013) was that she wanted to talk about moving.

"It was never a situation where she would have been asked to make a decision in half an hour."

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "This is a tragic case and our sympathies are with Mrs Bottrill's family.

"The council was working closely and supporting Mrs Bottrill with the changes.

"This includes offering advice on extra funding available through discretionary housing payments and giving priority help to move with a number of properties being identified for her.

"There's often complex reasons as to why people commit suicide and we wouldn't comment further on this."

If you've been affected by the issues in this article, please call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or CALM on 0800 58 58 58.