Army veteran and his wife die in tragic ‘suicide pact’ after becoming ‘too poor to live through the winter’
Every month the couple walked 12 miles to a soup kitchen to get free food
Charity said they ‘slipped through the net’
Mark and Helen Mullins kept food in plastic bags in their garden because they couldn’t afford a fridge
Driven to despair at having to live off £57.50 a week
Poverty-stricken pair found dead at home last Friday
By Andy Dolan
9th November 2011
A newly married couple forced to live on £57 a week killed themselves in despair after being ‘abandoned’ by social services, their friends claimed yesterday.
The bodies of Mark and Helen Mullins were found lying side by side at their run-down home in an apparent suicide pact.
News of the tragedy emerged yesterday as friends told how they had been forced to live ‘hand to mouth’, making a weekly 12-mile trip to a soup kitchen on foot after Mrs Mullins’ benefits were stopped 18 months ago.
The couple were given free vegetables at the soup kitchen in Coventry each Sunday, which they boiled into a broth on a camping stove.
They lived in just one room of their terraced house to save on heating costs and could not afford a fridge so kept their food in plastic bags in the garden.
They are believed to have killed themselves after 18 months of struggling to survive on the £57.50 Jobseeker’s Allowance payment Mr Mullins, a 48-year-old former Army physical training instructor, was able to claim.
Their heart-breaking plight was revealed yesterday, five days after their bodies were discovered at their council house in Bedworth, Warwickshire.
Charity workers who befriended the couple said society had allowed them to ‘slip through the net’.