Father of man killed by train at Surbiton station said benefits changes ‘weighed on his mind’ (From Surrey Comet)
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Father of man killed by train at Surbiton station said benefits changes ‘weighed on his mind’
A man hit by a train at Surbiton station is believed to have committed suicide on his 46th birthday.
Neil Groves turned 46 on the day he died and planned an evening in with his father, with a few cans of beer and some crisps in front of the television – a regular weekend ritual.
Police said his death on Thursday, February 13, just after 7.30pm, was not being treated as suspicious.
His 78-year-old father Ronald Groves, of Manordene Close in Thames Ditton, said: “He was happy here. He had a happy home. He liked watching TV programmes like Only Fools and Horses – comedies, he liked.
“He liked to do crosswords. Often if I couldn’t finish he would do it, or if he couldn’t finish I would do it.”
Neil had had an “unsettled childhood” and did not fit in at school, his father said.
He said: “His mother left when he was 20 months old so then I brought the three children up.
“I carried on a full time job at the Milk Marketing Board until I retired.
“He had never really worked. He had a few jobs when he left school.”
Mr Groves’ father said he believed a potential change to his son’s employment and support allowance (ESA) benefit “must have” weighed on Mr Groves.
He said: “He has obviously had it in his mind. They basically told him that his assessment was coming up again.
“He knew it probably would be the end of his sickness and disability and he would go back on to [jobseeker’s allowance].
“He said he would not be able to manage on that wage a week. It is all part and parcel of it.”
Mr Groves had received incapacity benefit for some years, his father said, which was stopped after an assessment, and he was not moved on to ESA.
He later won an appeal against the decision.
He had recently been diagnosed with chronic depression, and claimed sickness benefit and jobseeker’s allowance.
Mr Groves’ uncle, Alan, said he had taken to walking his dogs as well after an accident. He had a labrador, Buster.
He said: “I couldn’t have managed without him. He was a caring person.
“He loved the dog. He’s left him behind. He had family around him – it is not as if he was one of those loners.
“He didn’t have a good start.”
His family said Neil had not left a note.
His uncle said: “We don’t think there was anything malicious.”
A witness to his death, standing opposite platform 2 when the 16.24 Exeter to London Waterloo service passed through, said: “It took me 10 or 15 minutes to convince the railway staff that someone had been killed.
“I don’t know, really, how it occurred. I witnessed the second after and all that happened after that, which was pretty horrific.”
- Did you know Neil? Leave a tribute by emailing newsdesk@ surreycomet.co.uk.
Where to get help
Help exists for people worried about their benefits or other issues:
Theo Harris, chief executive of the Kingston Centre for Independent Living (KCIL), said: “We work with a lot of people who, although they haven’t experienced any change yet, are worried and deteriorate in their wellbeing worrying about the change.”
KCIL provides support for help with benefits. Its contact number is 020 8546 9603.
The Mind charity promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Its helpline number is 03001 233 393.
To get in touch with the Samaritans in Kingston, call 020 8399 6676 or drop in at 12 St Andrew’s Road, Surbiton. Samaritans lend a confidential ear to those in distress.
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