Having gained notoriety for his bizarre polyamorous lifestyle, Michael Philpott shocked the nation after he was found to have caused the deaths of six of his children in a fire which he started deliberately.
Memorably, the case was jumped on by the right-wing press, with Philpott labelled “a vile product of welfare UK” by the Mail. The chancellor George Osborne even chipped in, saying the case raised important welfare “questions”.
On May 4, Stephanie Bottrill, 53, killed herself. She had previously told the Sunday People that she was worried about how she would afford the £20 extra a week for the two under-occupied bedrooms in her home – money she owed because of the government’s ‘bedroom tax’.
A note addressed to her son, Steven, found at her home upon her death read: “Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the government.”
Asked to comment on this case, however, the treasury said it “does not comment on individual cases”.
The hypocrisy didn’t go unnoticed.