Pensioner Kathleen Russell opens letter from council informing her of her own demise

York Press: Kathleen Russell and son David, of Peter Hill Drive, Clifton, with the letter from City of York Council sent in error Kathleen Russell and son David, of Peter Hill Drive, Clifton, with the letter from City of York Council sent in error

A PENSIONER who opened a letter to her husband from City of York Council was stunned to read: “Please accept my condolences on your recent bereavement.”

The letter to Raymond Russell went on to say the authority would have to look at his claim for housing/council tax benefit again, as his income and capital might now have changed.

His wife, Kathleen, 79, of Clifton, who opened the letter because her husband is poorly and in a care home, said she almost fell to the floor in shock when she read it. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I didn’t know what to think. I was very upset.”

Her son, Stuart said: “It’s unbelievable. They apologised and said it was human error, but I think there is something wrong with the system if this can happen. It’s so out of order. I don’t know what they are playing at.”

Another son, David, said the additional upset was the last thing the family needed, as it had already been struggling to deal with his father’s illness.

It is understood Mrs Russell may have been confused with another pensioner called Kathleen Russell, who was 91, of Connaught Court, Fulford, and who died recently. Her son, John said: “How they came to do something so stupid is beyond me.”

Pauline Stuchfield, the council’s assistant director of customer and business support services, said officers had met Stuart Russell to offer their sincere apologies on behalf of the benefits service for the distress and upset caused to his mother, him and his family, as a result of the letter that had been sent in error.

“While our apology does not change what happened, we have taken immediate actions to ensure that this does not happen again,” she said.

A council spokeswoman said staff at the benefits service had sent a bouquet of flowers to Mrs Russell by way of apology.

She said staff used information from the registrar, double checking such records prior to sending any letter for printing to ensure the entry on the registrar’s list and the system record was the same. “We have reiterated this important instruction again to all benefits staff and will be following this up at staff meetings and in manager one-to-one’s.”

Comments (21)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:58am Mon 26 Nov 12

roskoboskovic says...

if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love. roskoboskovic
  • Score: 0

10:58am Mon 26 Nov 12

roskoboskovic says...

if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love. roskoboskovic
  • Score: 0

11:01am Mon 26 Nov 12

CHISSY1 says...

roskoboskovic wrote:
if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
[quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment". CHISSY1
  • Score: 0

11:20am Mon 26 Nov 12

R'Marcus says...

roskoboskovic wrote:
if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
It is York council again!
And, of course, it is The Press.
Stop this nonsense, please. Ignore those who want publicity at any cost.
[quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]It is York council again! And, of course, it is The Press. Stop this nonsense, please. Ignore those who want publicity at any cost. R'Marcus
  • Score: 0

11:21am Mon 26 Nov 12

R'Marcus says...

CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote:
if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
[quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not. R'Marcus
  • Score: 0

11:46am Mon 26 Nov 12

baldiebiker says...

That's nothing I've just had a phone call (recorded message) saying I was involved in an accident and could get about 5 grand compo.
I couldn't believe it, I must have lost my memory in this accident?
That's nothing I've just had a phone call (recorded message) saying I was involved in an accident and could get about 5 grand compo. I couldn't believe it, I must have lost my memory in this accident? baldiebiker
  • Score: 0

11:52am Mon 26 Nov 12

CHISSY1 says...

R'Marcus wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote:
if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
"Another stupid ignorant comment".
[quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not.[/p][/quote]"Another stupid ignorant comment". CHISSY1
  • Score: 0

12:59pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Buzz Light-year says...

CHISSY1 wrote:
R'Marcus wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
"Another stupid ignorant comment".
Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.
[quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not.[/p][/quote]"Another stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty. Buzz Light-year
  • Score: 0

1:07pm Mon 26 Nov 12

bob the builder says...

I hope she sues for the distress caused - and that the council fires the human responsible for the error. There are plenty of literate educated people out there to fill the job vacancy. This happens too frequently at the council.
I hope she sues for the distress caused - and that the council fires the human responsible for the error. There are plenty of literate educated people out there to fill the job vacancy. This happens too frequently at the council. bob the builder
  • Score: 0

1:15pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Big Bad Wolf says...

CHISSY1 wrote:
R'Marcus wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote:
if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
"Another stupid ignorant comment".
Wow a troll with a conscience....
[quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not.[/p][/quote]"Another stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]Wow a troll with a conscience.... Big Bad Wolf
  • Score: 0

1:15pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Big Bad Wolf says...

CHISSY1 wrote:
R'Marcus wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote:
if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
"Another stupid ignorant comment".
Wow a troll with a conscience....
[quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not.[/p][/quote]"Another stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]Wow a troll with a conscience.... Big Bad Wolf
  • Score: 0

1:27pm Mon 26 Nov 12

CHISSY1 says...

Buzz Light-year wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
R'Marcus wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
"Another stupid ignorant comment".
Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.
"Stop and think before you comment on anything,it will save you the humiliation".
[quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not.[/p][/quote]"Another stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.[/p][/quote]"Stop and think before you comment on anything,it will save you the humiliation". CHISSY1
  • Score: 0

2:55pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Big Bad Wolf says...

CHISSY1 wrote:
Buzz Light-year wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
R'Marcus wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
"Another stupid ignorant comment".
Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.
"Stop and think before you comment on anything,it will save you the humiliation".
Hello Pot... this is Kettle calling.....
[quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not.[/p][/quote]"Another stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.[/p][/quote]"Stop and think before you comment on anything,it will save you the humiliation".[/p][/quote]Hello Pot... this is Kettle calling..... Big Bad Wolf
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Mon 26 Nov 12

jimmy120883 says...

I may be wrong but isn't it illegal to open someone else's post even if it is your spouse?
I may be wrong but isn't it illegal to open someone else's post even if it is your spouse? jimmy120883
  • Score: 0

3:36pm Mon 26 Nov 12

YorkShrimper says...

jimmy120883 wrote:
I may be wrong but isn't it illegal to open someone else's post even if it is your spouse?
I think the law only relates to the living....

Different people will react differently and I can understand how this would cause distress. In my case, many a year ago, a local paper reported my death in an road accident - I never knew how many cared. made me chuckle during my recovery.
[quote][p][bold]jimmy120883[/bold] wrote: I may be wrong but isn't it illegal to open someone else's post even if it is your spouse?[/p][/quote]I think the law only relates to the living.... Different people will react differently and I can understand how this would cause distress. In my case, many a year ago, a local paper reported my death in an road accident - I never knew how many cared. made me chuckle during my recovery. YorkShrimper
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Mon 26 Nov 12

xtc says...

bob the builder wrote:
I hope she sues for the distress caused - and that the council fires the human responsible for the error. There are plenty of literate educated people out there to fill the job vacancy. This happens too frequently at the council.
We have a complaint with the ombudsman re. Bad admin etc and all they ve done is lie and try and make it look our fault and we don't work there!useless,or lack of training and respect a phone call might have been nice once details double checked they could have given the poor lady a heart attack,idiots!
[quote][p][bold]bob the builder[/bold] wrote: I hope she sues for the distress caused - and that the council fires the human responsible for the error. There are plenty of literate educated people out there to fill the job vacancy. This happens too frequently at the council.[/p][/quote]We have a complaint with the ombudsman re. Bad admin etc and all they ve done is lie and try and make it look our fault and we don't work there!useless,or lack of training and respect a phone call might have been nice once details double checked they could have given the poor lady a heart attack,idiots! xtc
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Mon 26 Nov 12

CHISSY1 says...

Big Bad Wolf wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
Buzz Light-year wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
R'Marcus wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
"Another stupid ignorant comment".
Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.
"Stop and think before you comment on anything,it will save you the humiliation".
Hello Pot... this is Kettle calling.....
"Another one"
[quote][p][bold]Big Bad Wolf[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not.[/p][/quote]"Another stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.[/p][/quote]"Stop and think before you comment on anything,it will save you the humiliation".[/p][/quote]Hello Pot... this is Kettle calling.....[/p][/quote]"Another one" CHISSY1
  • Score: 0

4:32pm Mon 26 Nov 12

LoveMyPuppy says...

CHISSY1 wrote:
Big Bad Wolf wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
Buzz Light-year wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
R'Marcus wrote:
CHISSY1 wrote:
roskoboskovic wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.
"What a stupid ignorant comment".
No, it is not.
"Another stupid ignorant comment".
Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.
"Stop and think before you comment on anything,it will save you the humiliation".
Hello Pot... this is Kettle calling.....
"Another one"
LOL
[quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Big Bad Wolf[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]R'Marcus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]CHISSY1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]roskoboskovic[/bold] wrote: if the letter was sent to a relative i could understand the upset but to get it yourself would be a good laugh.hasn t she got a sense of humour or is she after some compo.get a grip love.[/p][/quote]"What a stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]No, it is not.[/p][/quote]"Another stupid ignorant comment".[/p][/quote]Unusually self aware there Mr Nasty.[/p][/quote]"Stop and think before you comment on anything,it will save you the humiliation".[/p][/quote]Hello Pot... this is Kettle calling.....[/p][/quote]"Another one"[/p][/quote]LOL LoveMyPuppy
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Mon 26 Nov 12

hendom says...

Looks like an unfortunate mistake.
We all make them sometimes, and as mentioned above, the lady must have known straight away, so I would suggest she DID know what to think.
As for those calling for sackings .......
Looks like an unfortunate mistake. We all make them sometimes, and as mentioned above, the lady must have known straight away, so I would suggest she DID know what to think. As for those calling for sackings ....... hendom
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Mon 26 Nov 12

Silver says...

baldiebiker wrote:
That's nothing I've just had a phone call (recorded message) saying I was involved in an accident and could get about 5 grand compo.
I couldn't believe it, I must have lost my memory in this accident?
I had a text telling me that too lol, also I was killed in Iraq gave some of my family a shock
[quote][p][bold]baldiebiker[/bold] wrote: That's nothing I've just had a phone call (recorded message) saying I was involved in an accident and could get about 5 grand compo. I couldn't believe it, I must have lost my memory in this accident?[/p][/quote]I had a text telling me that too lol, also I was killed in Iraq gave some of my family a shock Silver
  • Score: 0

9:05am Tue 27 Nov 12

hikerman says...

This letter was a shock for all the family talk about education the office staff make out they are indispensable just to keep there jobs and every department are the same.
This letter was a shock for all the family talk about education the office staff make out they are indispensable just to keep there jobs and every department are the same. hikerman
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree