NACSA NEWS May/June 1995

A prison officer killed himself because he could not pay £150 a week to the CSA which ignored letters from his former wife stating categorically she did not need the money.

Brian Smith, 42, the father of three teenage daughters, was found on a settee at his home in Whitchurch, Cardiff, with empty pill bottles strewn on the floor. A note next to his body said: “To whom it may concern, I am just about fed up with being here. I just can’t take any more. I just feel so alone and isolated.”

His ex-wife, Gaynor, said he had been paying her £33 every week and covering their mortgage before the Child Support Agency became involved. “I didn’t want any more money from Brian, we were more than happy with what he had been paying. I even wrote to the CSA telling them I didn’t want the money but I heard nothing from them.”

Eight months after his death the family received a letter offering to lower the payment.

An inquest heard that Mr. Smith was unable to pay his household bills on top of the CSA demands and was left £7 short every week.

His cousin, Howard Cotter, said: “The CSA did have a bearing on his death even they have admitted that to me. If the CSA hadn’t hounded him so much, he would still be alive.”