Sheffield man killed himself over benefits fears

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A gamekeeper from Sheffield killed himself fearing he was to lose his benefits, according to neighbours.

They claim Shaun Pilkington, aged 58, shot himself after receiving a letter warning he could lose his ­Employment and Support ­Allowance, which he started to receive after suffering a long-term illness.

Neighbours said Mr Pilkington, a father-of-two with a young grandson, was a licensed gamekeeper.

They said the letter he received said he needed to be reassessed to establish whether he was still eligible for the benefit.

They said Mr Pilkington told them he had felt ‘unable to cope’.

Neighbour Shani Hird said: “We have lost a dear neighbour who shot himself due to his money being stopped.

“His appeal was due next week, but he felt he could not carry on. This is so sad. This isn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last.

“I think it is terrible the Government’s benefit cuts are causing vulnerable people so much pain and misery.”

Neighbours claim Mr Pilkington had called South Yorkshire Police to say he was going to kill himself.

However, when officers arrived at his home on Lilac Road, Beighton, on the afternoon of Sunday, December 29, they found his body.

A neighbour said: “There were armed police everywhere. Sadly he’d gone through with his threat.

“It is a tragedy. He was upset because he got a letter saying his ESA was being stopped.

“He was pretty down about it.”

An inquest into the death is to be held.