Background: Those who suffer from child support enforcement’s abuses and errors lead difficult and stressful lives. Sadly, child support enforcement abuses may have contributed to the recent heart attack and death of an English father.
According to the Equal Parenting Alliance, this month “36 year-old veteran soldier Lee Wilkins died while out running. He survived action in Northern Ireland, but those who knew him well believe it was the battles he had with Family Courts and the Child Support Agency which killed him.
“His son lived with him, and in these circumstances, one wonders why the CSA were hounding him to pay them £650, instead of paying money to him. Lee could not understand this either, and we saw the increasing stress which this alleged debt, and the threat of bailiffs caused him.” Lee is pictured with his son. To learn more, see my blog post Did Child Support Enforcement Help Drive this Innocent Father to His Death? (Part I).
F4J member John Ison, who was Wilkins’ legal advisor, sent the following letter:
“My name is John Ison. I used to be one of the spokesmen for the original F4J here in the UK.
“I have since moved into politics and stood against the current Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, in the 2005 UK General Election but still campaign for fathers rights and those of our children.
“The reason for my post here is that I was also Legal Advisor to Lee Wilkins.
“Lee contacted me in 2003 when he had no contact with his son and at a time when his son had been partially blinded whilst in the care of his mother. I worked with Lee right up until his death on the 6th December to get justice for his child and for himself and every other law abiding father who has become a victim of the bias family court system.
“Lee and I became extremely good friends and for the last three years always spend our summer vacations together with our children. He became my best mate.
“I was dealing with the threat of the bailiffs since he received the demand detailed above. The date of their contact was the 14th February 2007 – how romantic.
“Lee won’t mind me telling the world that he had no spare money. For every £1 he spent on himself he would spend £2 on his little boy. He would start the month off with £5 in the bank. The small assistance he received from the so-called UK government would clothe and feed his son but little else. If the bailiffs had have come in and taken away the TV, the video, the computer they would have effectively removed it from his son and prevented Lee from potentially earning any money as he was a professional photographer who had just graduated from University and worked from home.
“I had the traumatic job of sorting Lee’s belongings last weekend deciding what needed to be kept and what was surplus to requirements. A man’s life lay before me and I had to save and discard items that were Lee’s, not mine.
“What was VERY apparent was the way he conducted his life – HE LIVED IT FOR HIS SON.
“Lee was a fit man, he ran 5 miles a day, swam, enjoyed judo and cycled instead of using his car. His death certificate indicates that stress cannot be ruled out as a cause, which if anyone knew Lee as well as I did, would know that he was in a personal turmoil with the attitude of the CSA.
“Only following his death has the CSA informed me that they will not be pursuing his debt to his grave, possibly due to the fact that the system brought Lee to his knee’s and the recovered amount wouldn’t even pay for a stamp for the reply envelope.
“A trust fund has been set up for his son which will be available when he becomes 18. I hate to say this but I do for the benefit of his little boy: donations are always welcome.
“I for one will ensure I keep in touch with Lee’s son to ensure that he has the best possible chance of success during his life and hopefully I will be allowed to take him on holiday with my twins.
“Lee will be sadly missed.