The mother of a disabled woman who took her own life when her benefits were stopped has welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision to order a second inquest into her death.

Joy Dove has fought tirelessly to ensure that her daughter, Jodey Whiting, gets the justice she believes she deserves.

The heartbroken mother has been fighting for five years to have a coroner inspect the role that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) could have had on the death of the 42-year-old.

Ms Whiting died in February 2017 around two weeks after her disability benefit was stopped when she did not attend a work capability assessment.

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Today, the appeal judges ruled that it is desirable in the interests of justice for a new inquest to be held to investigate how Jodey came by her death, in light of new evidence Joy obtained after the first inquest into Jodey’s death.

The Northern Echo: Jodey WhitingJodey Whiting (Image: Agency)

Lady Justice Whipple, sitting with Lord Justice Lewis and Lord Justice William Davis, said in the ruling that a fresh inquest is “desirable in the interests of justice”.

The judge said the public has a “legitimate interest” in knowing whether Ms Whiting’s death was connected with the abrupt stopping of her benefits.

The coroner at the original inquest, which lasted 37 minutes, recorded a verdict of suicide.

Welcoming the ruling, Ms Dove said: “We buried Jodey just over six years ago and finally my family and I have the chance of getting justice for Jodey. Jodey is never going to be forgotten and her death was not in vain, she’s helping others and her legacy will live on.

“We have always believed that the DWP wrongly stopping Jodey’s benefits caused her death and the High Court’s refusal caused such disappointment not just for me and my family, but others too who have lost loved ones after DWP mistakes and who continue to fight for accountability from the DWP.

“This is a victory not just for us but for all those families and others still on the receiving end of awful treatment by the DWP. I hope the DWP learn from their tragic failings.”

At the time of the assessment, Jodey was housebound with pneumonia, had been in hospital, and had found out that she had a cyst on the brain.

After the Attorney General gave Joy permission to apply to the High Court for a second inquest, the High Court rejected her application, but did say “the withdrawal of Employment Support Allowance should not have happened”.

The High Court ruled that new evidence that had come to light did not require a fresh inquest in the interests of justice.

However, Joy was given permission to appeal on several grounds.

Ms Dove’s lawyers argued at the High Court in 2021 that a house visit was not properly considered before the DWP terminated her disability benefit, which led to Ms Whiting’s housing benefit and council tax benefit also being terminated.

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The decision to terminate Ms Whiting’s benefit was overturned on March 31, weeks after her death.

The independent case examiner, which investigates complaints about the DWP, later found multiple breaches of department policy, significant errors by staff and several “missed opportunities” for the DWP to reconsider the claim.

Speaking after the ruling, a government spokesperson said: “Our sincere condolences remain with Ms Whiting’s family. DWP is ready to assist the new Coroner with their investigation. We cannot comment on active legal proceedings.”