Tim Baldwin represented the family of Jerome Rogers at the inquest into his death on 28 April 2017 at Croydon Coroner’s Court.
The assistant coroner recorded a verdict of suicide in the inquest on hearing evidence that the Jerome Rogers, aged 20, who worked as a motorcycle courier was being pursued over two fixed penalty notices of £65 for traffic infringements by Camden Council which had escalated into a total debt of £1019.00.
Jerome received two visits by an enforcement agent acting on Camden’s behalf. On 7 March 2016 an enforcement agent attended and called police to enable Jerome’s motorcycle, which he used for his work as a courier, to be clamped in order to secure the debt. Jerome disappeared from his family home on that day and police were alerted as worrying messages were found from Jerome to his girlfriend.
Jerome was later found, in a makeshift hut where he had ended his own life, by a family friend. It was discovered that following visits by an enforcement agent Jerome had been searching the internet for loans and websites on how to commit suicide.
The inquest was to investigate the circumstances of Jerome’s death with the coroner giving a summing up and narrative conclusion into the circumstances.
The inquest has led to a renewed campaign to change the law on bailiff powers and enforcement, see report of 14 March 2017 'Taking Control' by StepChange Debt Charity. The case has been widely reported in the local and national press, including the Guardian, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and Evening Standard, together with a campaign to address suicide amongst young men.
Tim Baldwin was instructed by Irene Nembhard of Birnberg Peirce solicitors on behalf of Jerome’s family and is a member of Garden Court Chambers' inquest and civil liberties teams. Tim sits on the INQUEST Lawyers steering group.