Shelton benefits blunder victim Chris Cann dies
TRIPLE amputee Chris Cann has been found dead in his house – just months after being told he had to undergo a medical assessment to prove he could not work.
Police were called to the address in Cauldon Road, Shelton, on Saturday evening after a carer found the 57-year-old's body.
Officers say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and friends suspect Chris may have suffered a heart attack.
Chris, who was housebound after losing both legs and a finger to diabetes, was told in August that he would have to undergo medical tests in order to receive the new Employment and Support Allowance.
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He believed such an assessment would be a waste of time and money, as he was clearly unfit for work.
The Department for Work and Pensions later told Chris that he would not have to attend the assessment, after The Sentinel highlighted his case.
But Chris's friend Barry Seckerson believes the ordeal made his last few months much harder than they ought to have been.
Chris had also been mourning the death of his partner of 11 years, Emma Wilson, who died shortly before he was told about the tests.
Barry, aged 72, from Oakhill, said: "I met Chris about 10 years ago, and I've been friends with him ever since. He was a rough diamond, with a heart of gold.
"When he got that letter saying he had to go for an assessment or his benefits would be cut off he came and asked me what he should do. I told him he should go to The Sentinel, and fortunately that helped sort out the situation.
"I told Chris he should never have come out of hospital, but he wanted his independence.
"It costs a lot less to care for someone in the community so he should have got a lot more help.
"There are probably thousands of people who are going through the same thing as Chris did.
"They wanted to know if he was fit to work, but now everyone can see just how ill he was.
"At the end, he was still having problems getting the severe disability premium, which he should have been entitled to and would have meant another £52 a week.
"I last saw him about 10 days ago and I could see that he was really ill.
"But his spirits were still up, he wasn't depressed."
Chris, who worked in the fast food industry for 30 years, was diagnosed with diabetes six years ago.
His left leg was removed in January after he developed ulcers, followed by the right one in the summer.
Chris was due to receive two prosthetic legs, which he hoped would help restore some normality in his life.
A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: "Officers attended an address in Cauldon Road, Shelton at 7.50pm on Saturday following the discovery of a man's body.
"There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
"Formal identification has been done and it is Christopher Cann, aged 57. A report is being prepared for HM Coroner."
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