Dad took own life after being hounded for Child Maintenance

One father was “persecuted” by the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) for money he did not owe in the months before his death.

Railroad depot worker Gavin Briggs was found dead on July 3 last year in Little Somborne near Stockbridge, Hampshire.

His father, Ian Briggs, told the Winchester hearing that his son had been tracked by the CMS for £ 26,000 based on incorrect numbers.

He added that his 40-year-old son, from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, was also under pressure to join Hitachi at the North Pole rail depot in London, where he was undergoing a probation test.

Mr Briggs asked coroner Jason Pegg to consider documents and evidence from a witness to establish the validity of the CMS claim.

But Mr Pegg said this is outside the purview of an investigation that can only examine the state of mind of the deceased and not the “why and why” of concerns.

Mr. Briggs said, “Based on the evidence I received and presented to this investigation, I believe that the investigation bureau should conduct an investigation.

“The CMS played a huge role in my son’s state of mind as he took his own life.

“I realize that I will never see the people I hold responsible for my son’s death going to justice.

“If the CMS had done its job right, the last year of Gavin’s life would not have been the same. I try to make sure that this organization doesn’t put people’s lives at risk.

“It is the coroner’s responsibility to ensure that any company that has made mistakes doesn’t make those mistakes again.”

He added that he knows a report will be released soon linking the CMS to 1,000 deaths per year.

Mr Briggs added that Hitachi has taken important steps to change its practices to prevent his son’s situation from recurring.

Mr Pegg said the full investigation, due May 17, will hear evidence of how the CMS and Hitachi, as well as the relationship with his partner, affected Mr Briggs’ state of mind at the time of his death.

He said to Mr Briggs’ father, “I have no power, it is not my responsibility to examine the figures that have been presented to your son and are being asked for payment from him, that is not my job.”

The PA sought an opinion from the Department of Labor and Pensions.

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