Father names CSA in death note

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The Independent Online
ANOTHER MAN has apparently committed suicide after receiving a pounds 2,500 arrears demand for maintenance from the Child Support Agency.

Stephen Jackson, 42, of Oldbury, West Midlands, a prison officer who worked as a dog handler, who was separated with a son and a daughter, was found dead on his bed. He had left six notes.

One, addressed to the CSA, said: 'Thank you for nothing.' It is not known if the CSA had increased his payments substantially. The agency cannot discuss the individual circumstances of cases.

His death is the sixth linked to demands from the agency since it was set up in April 1993 to try to ensure more fathers paid maintence, with the object of saving the state money by reducing the amount of benefit paid to single mothers.

In one suicide, the coroner was told that the CSA had trebled maintenance payments.

Figures given to the Commons Select Committee on Social Security this week by Ros Hepplewhite, chief executive of the CSA, suggested the benefit savings were likely to be minimal. In the first 11 months of this financial year, it had saved pounds 285m, while in the year 1992-93 the old system under the DSS had saved pounds 313m. The CSA, which cost pounds 146m to set up, says the figures are not directly compable.

The other five letters were for John Major, for Mr Jackson's children, his parents, his wife and friends, and an open message pleading for somebody to look after his dog.

Friends had raised the alarm after they realised they had not seen Mr Jackson for some days.

Det Insp Barrie Davies, of Smethwick police, said there were no suspicious circumstances.

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