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Bonkers Blog July 2018

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2 July (Part 3) - He says, they say…

It is more than a week since @Lee_Being accused Bexley Council via Twitter of helping to kill his Grandmother and I thought another Barbara Baker was about to be revealed. Mrs. Baker was an elderly lady who was alone and whose calls for help went unheard because the management at Bexley Council employed a man known to have alcohol problems. He was given the sole responsibility for the night shift and failed to answer the emergency call. He had fallen asleep. Mrs. Baker died.

A lot of effort and not a little money was expended on covering everything up. So appalled were some of Bexley’s staff at the behaviour of the Council Leader that certain documents were leaked. There can be little doubt about the depths to which Bexley Council was prepared to stoop. It is not possible to be so definite about the death of Daphne Palmer because a lot of the evidence was lost in what might be termed a digital accident.

The following has been gathered from Twitter comments and it might not be appearing here except that I, prematurely perhaps, promised that it would. Unlike every other Bonkers story this one is not based on hard facts but on what just one person was prepared to post on Twitter. I have no reason to doubt him and long term readers will know that Bexley Council is not renowned for its honesty, nevertheless you must keep in mind that this is necessarily a one-sided story.

Daphne PalmerMrs. Palmer was a hoarder, her house was not just a bit on the untidy side but more like something that would show up on Channel 4. Somewhere where visitors might need a shovel to get beyond the front door.

There was no family nearby and a house clearance was resisted by the old lady. It was a health hazard and Bexley Council knew it, however they refused help unless a Court ordered them to do do. The family obtained one (†) and Bexley Council did nothing. It took three Court Orders to spur them into action.

When they did take action they were not nice. The old lady was consulted on nothing and was in floods of tears as her possessions were unceremoniously dumped. She was verbally abused and told she was “a right one”. When a dead mouse was found in the kitchen it was thrown in her face. It missed and hit her in the chest.

The Council staff - or it could have been contractors - took a set of keys because it was at first estimated that the clearance might take four days. It actually took less than one day.

The old lady’s family agreed an equity release scheme with Bexley Council so that she could live in a care home while they retained ownership of the house.

While the house was vacant someone entered the house with a key. Outside the family only two people had a key and subsequently the old lady’s valuables were never seen again.

A neighbour had seen the someone entering and leaving the house carrying things and identified one of the house clearers. The loss was reported to Bexley police who said that the neighbour’s sighting was not evidence and refused to do anything.

Last year the old lady eventually died and I have not seen anything that proves or even strongly indicates that her death was accelerated by Bexley Council, however the complaint is that they were very quick to take more than their pound of flesh.

They were of course entitled to be reimbursed the care costs from the estate but without reference to the family they helped themselves to an extra £9,000 (††) which when pressed they said was the cost of four days of house clearance work. The family protested, four days work was just an estimate but the job took less than one. Bexley Council was not interested and when pressed for information again the allegation is that the family was declared vexatious and Bexley Council refused to answer more questions.

This is perhaps one aspect of the story that I feel can be accepted without evidence, it is Bexley Council’s standard method for extricating themselves from tight corners.

Daphne PalmerBecause of the flurry of Twitter activity Bexley Council offered to take a complaint on board presumably oblivious to the vexatious label and presumably the new complaint will be based on the foregoing.

There are things that are as yet not fully explained to my satisfaction and some bits of the story, not included here, are slightly contradictory.

The theft of the jewellery and the mouse throwing incident are never going to be resolved but it ought to be possible to explain how a day’s clearance cost £9,000. The allegation is that Bexley Council cannot do so.

The personalities involved in this case and blamed for it are the same as those who tried unsuccessfully to pursue Rita Grootendorst through the courts for an unorthodox but award winning garden.

Unless the formal complaint goes ahead there is unlikely to be a return to this subject, the lack of documentary evidence makes reporting difficult. However if anything new transpires this blog will provide the background information.

† Some reports say that Bexley Council made the application.
†† One report gives a lower figure.


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