Family hope Accrington father's death will lead to review of bailiff practices (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Family hope Accrington father's death will lead to review of bailiff practices
THE FAMILY of heart-attack victim Andy Miller say they hope the inquiry into his death will lead to a review of bailiff practices.
The 78-year-old former landlord collapsed and died from a heart attack after being taken to a cashpoint to pay an overdue speeding fine.
Following calls for action from his family, Justice Minister and Blackburn MP Jack Straw ordered the courts to launch an investigation into his death.
Besides learning more about the circumstances in which the father-of-five died, Andy’ son Mick, 48, said he hopes it will lead to an overhaul in the entire system.
The call came as a leading driver’s association also asked for the bailiff concerned, as well as the magistrates, to be suspended over the incident.
Mick Miller said: “Before contacting the Telegraph, I wasn’t getting anywhere fast with the courts and many people must be struggling to make themselves heard.
“It’s practically impossible to find out what bailiffs have said and done. I would like to see the companies which employ them, and the bailiffs themselves made more accountable. I don’t think they should be allowed to confront people who are clearly vulnerable.”
Mr Miller had been released from a two-month stay in hospital after suffering a heart attack at Ewood Park before a Blackburn Rovers game.
His family, who had been unaware of the fine previously, wrote to the court while Mr Miller was still in hospital to tell them he was suffering from side effects such as memory loss and confusion.
Sheila Harding, from Bailiff Advice Online, an organisation which gives information about dealing with debt collectors, said the system needed a serious review.
She said: “Many pre-warning letters are being sent to wrong addresses, so people are confronted with bailiffs quite unexpectedly.
"We also get thousands of complaints about abuses of the system.”
The Association of British Drivers said as well as suspensions, it wanted the investigation into Mr Miller’s death to be made public.
The group’s chairman Brian Gregory added: "It is the Government's fanatical obsession with speed cameras and speed limits that is the root cause of this tragedy."