Single Dad Who Had To Quit Job To Care For 3 Kids, Kills Himself For Being Unable To Pay Rent

Single Dad Who Had To Quit Job To Care For 3 Kids, Kills Himself For Being Unable To Pay Rent

Trigger Warning: Self-harm, suicide. On March 18, he took to social media to share a photo of him weeping. A few moments after he posted the heartbreaking photo, it was reported that he had killed himself. It's such a tragedy!

A single father made the decision to end his own life because he was drowning in debt. 34-year-old Phillip Herron was trying his best to make ends meet. He had to take care of three children, which meant he had to feed and clothe them. Apart from these expenses, he was struggling to repay debts totaling £20,000 ($25,000) and was faced with an eviction notice because he just could not afford the monthly rent. According to The Sun, his debts were mostly from payday loans which are infamous for charging up to 1,000 percent interest. 

Source: GoFundMe

He did apply for help from the government, but he had to wait a month for Universal Credit, which only drove him further down in debt. It came to a point when Phillip just couldn't take it anymore. He had just £4.61 ($5.76) left in his bank account when he made the devastating decision to end his own life. On March 18, he took to social media to share a photo of him weeping. A few moments after he posted the heartbreaking photo, it was reported that he had killed himself. 

Source: GoFundMe

“In his suicide note, he said his family would be better off if he wasn’t there anymore," his mother Sheena Derbyshire told Mirror. “He was a single dad. He was responsible. He always had money before and the kids had the best of everything," she explained. "But Phillip had quit his job as a factory worker recently to look after his young kids and he got into debt, which must have been difficult for him. To suddenly have no money for them must have been very hard. He was waiting for Universal Credit and had just £4.61 when he died.”

Source: GoFundMe

Sheena strenuously criticized the system and said that it was "dangerous" to make people wait for so long to receive payments. "There’s no reason it should take so long," she added. "Phillip already had problems but I think this was the final straw.” Even though Universal Credit is currently working with a single-month payment system, there seem to be huge issues with the new scheme. 


According to the report, it takes at least five weeks to receive the first payment, and it could lead some families to lose over thousands of pounds a year. As a mother, Sheena failed to understand what drove her son to take such an unimaginable decision. He hadn't let anyone know of the battles he was fighting. It was only when she went through his stuff later that she got to know of the debt and the eviction notice from Bernicia Homes, his housing association. 


Sheena also managed to unlock her late son's phone and the heartbroken mother foraged through his e-mails and documents. She even listened to months of calls that Phillip had recorded, just because she wanted to know what went wrong where. “I was trying to knit his life together,” she said. “You could hear him changing so much over those final months. He used to be very quietly spoken but in his recent calls and messages he was often screaming."


“He loved his kids but he started shouting at them. And you can hear him sobbing in calls. I heard him talking about suicide to other people. I wish he’d told us how he was feeling but we never knew. Listening to those last few months of calls I started asking myself, ‘Who is this person?’ He’d changed so much so very quickly. If we didn’t have his phone and his computer we wouldn’t have known what had been going on for him. It was like walking back­wards through his life. It’s the most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever done," she added. 


Sheena now hopes that the evidence she's uncovered can be used in an upcoming probe into her son's death. She also wants to help other people who may be contemplating suicide. “You don’t just go out one day and take your own life. There’s a build-up. Please talk to someone," Sheena added. "Don’t let another family go through this. If you can’t talk to family or friends, there are people like Samaritans.”


"Our thoughts are with Herron’s family," a spokesperson for the Department of Works and Pensions said. “Suicide is a very complex issue, so it would be wrong to link it solely to someone’s benefit claim. We are committed to safeguarding vulnerable claimants and keep guidance under constant review to provide the highest standard of protection.” A Bernicia spokesperson said when tenants face difficulties “our approach is to seek to work with them to help overcome these."


"A small number of cases could ultimately end in residents losing their home but this is a long process and we see this as a last resort.  Help and support are available at every stage. We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Herron’s family.” When someone is faced with so much debt, what else do they do? They have no other option or help that can assure them that things get better, which is then they're left with no other choice but suicide. If you'd like to donate for his funeral, here's the GoFundMe link. 


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