Court of Appeal hearing in mother’s fight for second inquest into death of Jodey Whiting

Thu,26 January 2023
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The mother of Jodey Whiting will have a Court of Appeal hearing on Tuesday 31 January and Wednesday 1 February 2023 in her fight for a second inquest into her daughter’s death.

The hearing will be live-streamed after the court said it would be a “significant Court of Appeal hearing”.

Joy Dove, of Stockton-on-Tees, has been campaigning since 2018 for a second inquest into Jodey’s death at age 42 on 21 February 2017.

She argues that the role of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in Jodey’s death should be investigated and claims that the original 37-minute inquest, where she had no legal representation, was not sufficient and that a second inquest is required in the interests of justice.

Jodey, who suffered severe physical and mental health problems, took her own life a fortnight after her benefits were terminated because she did not attend a Work Capability Assessment.

At the time of the assessment, Jodey was housebound with pneumonia, had been in hospital, and had found out that she had a cyst on the brain.

After the Attorney General gave Joy permission to apply to the High Court for a second inquest, the High Court rejected her application, but did say “the withdrawal of Employment Support Allowance should not have happened”.

The High Court ruled that new evidence that had come to light did not require a fresh inquest in the interests of justice.

Disability Rights UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said: It is now six years since Jodey died but still her mother is having to battle for justice for her.

A link between the DWP making repeated errors in the handling of Jodey’s welfare benefits claim shortly before her death, which left her without income, housing benefit and council tax benefit, and her death has never been publicly investigated.

Joy Dove said: “It seems to me that there were obvious failings in the way the DWP treated Jodey, which were proved and documented by the Independent Case Examiner, and it is ridiculous that this has not been fully and publicly investigated.

“How can lessons be learned, and future tragedies prevented, if no one examines this properly?”

Joy Dove has written a book, A Mother’s Job, with authors Ann and Joe Cusack, which follows both her own journey from “passive and easygoing” great-grandmother to fierce campaigner, and the story of how her daughter Jodey took her own life in despair at DWP’s decision to rip away the financial support she relied on.

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