Family of 'debt suicide' man blames HalifaxHalifax has been branded 'disgusting and inhumane'

15 February 2006

Ian Beech, 47, is thought to have drunk a bottle of whisky with painkillers before walking into the sea. His body was found on a beach last Wednesday - the same day that bailiffs from Halifax were due to evict the family from their Norfolk home.

Mr Beech reportedly left a note criticising the bank's actions and urging his family to 'do something for the papers to let others know what happened'.

Arrears

The electrical engineer is thought to have been GBP 4,714.66 in arrears on the mortgage for his GBP 180,000 house in Wiggenhall St Germans, near King's Lynn, but was seeking to remortgage the property to raise funds.

Mr Beech's note reportedly said he'd been unable to pay the mortgage because his profit margins had collapsed, and the court order for repossession had been 'the last straw'. He hoped insurance pay-outs from his death would cover the debts and allow the family to stay in their home.

However, such policies often include a bar on payouts where the holder has committed suicide.

Repossession 'always last resort'

His father John Beech, 73, told a newspaper that his son had been the victim of a new hard-line policy by lenders.

He said: 'It was wicked the way the Halifax put the pressure on. Ian only had a mortgage for GBP 99,000, yet the property was worth GBP180,000. He was four or five months behind on his repayments, but the Halifax would have got all its money back. The way they pursued him was just disgusting, inhumane.'

Mr Beech said his son had been a 'dedicated family man' and his widow Caroline was 'desperately upset'.

A Halifax spokesman said today that repossession was 'always a last resort'.

He added: 'This is a very tragic case and our thoughts are with the family. We have been working with Mr Beech over the last year to try and help him through his financial difficulties. As you would expect, the court has also been fully involved during this time, putting in place a payment arrangement, and overseeing the case.

'The court notice, which was very much issued as a last resort, has now been cancelled and we are in contact with Mr Beech's family.'