By Peter Lazenby in Britain:
Chucked into jail for missing bedroom tax payments
Thursday 25th September 2014
Man with history of mental illness evicted over cruel tax
A LANCASHIRE man with a history of mental-health problems has been left to rot in prison for more than three months after falling into arrears with his bedroom tax.
He was evicted from the house and arrested after more than 20 police officers supported bailiffs who broke in to the barricaded home. His son was also evicted.
Mr Hilton, 53, had lived in his three-bedroom home in Accrington for 33 years. His student son Johnny, 29, had lived there all his life.
It was a council house before being transferred to a housing association.
Johnny told the Morning Star his unemployed father had a history of mental-health problems, including depression and schizophrenia.
He said that after the bedroom tax was introduced by the coalition government, arrears built up and the housing association took court action to obtain a possession order.
“At that point he owed about £500, including some pretty excessive costs,” he said. “Dad argued that he was exempt from the tax because he had lived in the house since before 1992 — it was a legal loophole that had been found.”
He said that when bailiffs and two police community support officers turned up at the house, his father opened an upstairs window and told them there was a gas cylinder behind the front door and there could be an explosion.
“His gas had been cut off and he heated the house using propane gas cylinders,” said Johnny.
“Dad was near the end of his tether. He came to the top window and said he was not coming out. He said ‘what you are doing is wrong. I am protesting against the tyranny of government and this unjust tax.’
“He barricaded himself in. More police turned up and cordoned off the house. There were 24 police officers there, armed polic and two fire engines. Dad climbed up into the loft and tried to bash through the roof tiles. When they forced entry to the property he gave himself up.”
The incident happened on June 4. Mr Hilton has since pleaded guilty to committing criminal damage and has been remanded in custody Mr Hilton has been in Forest Bank prison in Salford since June 5. He will be sentenced at Burnley Crown Court on October 9.
A protest in his support took place outside the court on Monday and another is expected at the court on October 9.