20/06/2014To all of the above, I am sending this letter to each person listed above. Each and every one of you has the power and ability to put something wrong, right and if any of you have a decent bone in your body you will act on this letter. This letter hasn’t been written to make my life better, but it is instead written in the hope that it will give a life back to a man that you have all played a part in taking the ‘life’ he had away. That man is Michael Hilton, currently residing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure (in Liverpool I believe). I am sure you are aware of this gentleman and his story. He resided in Meadoway, Church until the beginning of June when he was evicted by Hyndburn Homes and subsequently arrested. This gentleman according to family members has suffered long-term mental health issues and should have been flagged up by your system as vulnerable if not early in your process but certainly before it reached crisis point. It seems he wasn’t and due care wasn’t taken during the eviction process. He’d been a tenant in his home for over thirty years so why had he not been exempt under the 1996 ruling/loophole? Where were his local ward Councillors? Where was the expert support from the housing association? Why has his own MP not stepped forward and asked questions. You all have a responsibility to the vulnerable, to support people and enable them to enjoy a reasonable quality of life. Where is Michael’s quality of life now? His belongings it’s been alleged were thrown into a skip with an official laughing and telling neighbours to “help yourselves”. The skip apparently has subsequently been rifled through in Michael’s absence and looted. I don’t for one minute condone the gentleman’s behaviour and threats but this man was scared and vulnerable and fighting to keep his home, his ‘life’ and his sanctuary. There is no way on Earth he should have been arrested and charged, he should have been supported and if necessary taken to a place of safety where he could receive appropriate help and/or treatment. Now you may well say such things as “He didn’t respond to our letters” or “He failed to engage with us to prevent the situation escalating” but you see that holds no water with me. He is sick, he may well have not understood the enormity and urgency of the situation but with databases so technologically advanced these days and professional networking between agencies etc no one can honestly tell me you didn’t know there were mental health issues, no one can say you didn’t realise he was vulnerable. The truth of the matter was you either didn’t complete your checks properly or you just saw him as an inconvenience and to you he was just another ‘non-payer’ who needed to be made an example of. The example unfortunately being made is one of multiple ‘professionals’ and agencies that fail their most dependent service users and (as it stands) refuse to learn from these failures and try to make things right. And the saddest thing about this? Whilst you have all failed this man and continue to fail him (and possibly others like him) you are all still getting paid to enjoy your quality of life, whereas Michael still continues to pay the price for being poor and sick and for every night of freedom you enjoy, Michael continues to endure a night of Hell, trapped not only in a cell made of bricks but a cell made in his mind. Do the right thing and act now, rectify your mistakes and give Michael his life back. Yours Sincerely, Sarah Tomkins. FYI. I will be blogging this letter on http://www.sarahtomkins.wordpress.com and I hope to be able to update my readers with a positive outcome. I’ll leave the ball in your courts to achieve that.