A grandad of 62 was attacked by a muscle-bound security watchdog after he took his disabled wife for a benefits assessment. Keith Langham was left with blood pouring from a head injury after helping his wife Karen, 61, with the interview for her Personal Independence Payments.
She was told that people like her ‘needed to learn to help themselves’ amid ugly scenes at her first appointment which was carried out on behalf of Independent Assessment Services, formally known as Atos, in Carlisle, Cumbria.
At the second interview, Keith, who is 5ft 5in tall and 10-and-a-half stone, had to be taken to hospital after he was grabbed by powerfully-built six-footer Chris Bryan, then aged 30. He shoved him into a door then held Keith in a headlock where he fought for breath.
The episode was recorded on Keith’s phone before police were summoned to the centre in Newcastle Business Park. Keith a Grandfather of two had to have seven stitches in his head, and his wife then faced the ordeal of having to give evidence against Bryan, a ‘Boxercise’ personal trainer who was found guilty of assault by beating in May this year.
Bryan who is a pretty big guy and about 6ft 4inch tall and 16 stone, heavily built, with a shaven head was a security guard at the centre and said that Keith had to vacate the building, but Bryan was not bearing any identification. Keith questioned who Bryan was and he said that he didn’t have to tell Keith and that they had to leave.
As Keith and his wife were heading towards the reception one of the nurses said ‘get them out through the fire doors.’ Keith could feel Bryan’s breath on the back of his neck, as he put one hand between Keith’s shoulder blades, the other in the small of his back and propelled into him, launching Keith into the door frame.
He then had Keith in a choke hold and Keith said, which was recorded by audio, ‘I’m calm, can you let me go?.’
This sort of response by Bryan was random, cowardly, and excessive.
Keith’s wife Karen who suffered a string of strokes in 2002 and walks with a cane went into meltdown. She was yelling at Bryan to let her husband go, but Bryan had Keith in a choke hold for approximately two minutes.
The couple, of Haltwhistle, Northumberland, now understand the second appointment had been flagged by the assessors owing to difficulties with their workers at the first interview, and the security guard was brought in as a consequence.
The whole process was callous, to put it mildly, and these assessments are especially harsh and it was shameful what occurred.
Northumbria Police was called to the incident on Aug 18, 2017, and Keith was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, where he received seven stitches in the head wound.
Bryan, of Birtley, Co Durham, was found guilty of his crime at North Tyneside Magistrates court following a hearing. He was given a 12-month community order, with 150 hours of unpaid work. He was further ordered to pay £620 in court costs, a £85 victim surcharge, and £150 compensation to Keith.
Bryan has appealed against the conviction, and that is expected to be heard before Newcastle crown court on Sept 28. He refused to comment, and the Independent Assessment Services emphasised their delivery partner running the site had promptly discharged Bryan from service and a thorough investigation was conducted.
Complete co-operation was given to the police in their own investigation, and Bryan then left the contracted security firm with whom he was hired soon after the event and before any additional disciplinary action could be taken.
The DWP paid Independent Assessment Services and Capita almost £255 million last year for PIP assessments, and a cancer-stricken father died days before he was set to appeal against his benefits being removed. Joseph MacMillan, of Glasgow, was considered fit to work while further suffering from Diabetes, Pancreatitis, Heart problems, and Depression.
Mr MacMillan, who had to have his nose removed owing to Cancer, had £8 in his bank account when he died aged just 56 on August 9, only 15 days before he proposed to appeal against his PIP being cancelled.
Security services are supposed to screen all their security personnel before hiring them, and they’re supposed to have complete police checks, but you’ll always get the cowboy services that other companies will not dispense with, and the cheapest ones are the ones they use.
This security guard was over 6 ft tall, and Keith was 5 ft 5 inches tall, Bryan did not have to use force to get him out of the building, and this sort of behaviour was simply out and out bullying. Most doormen pride themselves on never having to beat anyone, and had this security guard not been so brain dead, he could have easily have escorted him out of the building without any injury.
Atos and Capita do not own the premises that they do the assessments in, the hubs are rented and the workers are employed by private companies, which are not all registered to work by the General Medical Council (GMC), some are foreign with no UK qualifications or certification.
Some are retirees, some are physiotherapists, paramedics and school nurses et cetera, but how would you feel being assessed by such incompetents who get approximately £300 per case, as well as a gratuity if they fail enough people to save the DWP money?
But actually it’s never been about saving money, it’s about exploiting the most defenceless people in society because filthy wealthy toffs feel they should be the only ones to get bonuses, not people who they deem to be the most putrid scumbags on the planet.
This is what happens when a country is governed by the excretions of society, backed by clueless imbeciles.
These are defenceless people who are genuinely sick and are being denied benefits and Atos and Capita are using people who haven’t got a clue about their illness that affects their everyday life. They assess how you look and if you say you can lift your arms, then they deem you fit to work, these are barbarian times and it needs to stop NOW!
The problem with this is that the Tories debate is that there are fraudsters, but that is so tiny compared to the rest that are genuinely sick and who are handled like felons by the state, but the true offenders are the wealthy tax dodgers with offshore accounts who pay nothing into our society.
The security guard has no authority to attack anyone, and if he was actually a true instructor then he should have had the discipline to not use force, it was not in his job description to attack anyone, and if there was a problem the police should have been summoned.
Assessment centres use CCTV, but the CCTV is largely used to observe people roaming about the building and observing you in the waiting area to conclude if your claims are bogus.
I frequently question how the powers that be actually sleep at night knowing that people are destitute and sick with worry and stressed and the only income they have is so limited, that they don’t have enough money to pay their rent because in the mind of the Government everyone is a liar.
I truly hope that they appreciate their nice warm homes because they don’t have to agonise over money, the money that they’re taking from innocent sick people. The point is the Government tar everyone with the same brush, and that’s the problem and they should be ashamed of themselves, and not everyone is a liar like they believe they are.
Keith is a 62-year-old man, and I would imagine isn’t as physically fit as the security guard who harmed him, so he was helpless against Bryan. Keith may have been identified as a troublemaker, but that’s not a criminal offence unless you can prove criminal grounds, but then the assessment centre who was dealing with his wife, if they were actually that worried, should have communicated with the police beforehand, and obviously they didn’t, they simply set their Gorilla onto him instead.
Keith was launched in the back by the security guard, what was Keith doing, reversing into the security guard? So, the old man answered the security guard back and might have offended his pubescent brain, so Bryan waited until Keith’s back was turned and pushed him into the door head first which makes the security guard a spineless bully.
But the fact is if Tory government simply trusted doctors opinions like we have done for decades upon decades we wouldn’t have this mayhem now, along with an unbelievable so-called assessments being overthrown in court, and the Government could save the taxpayers hundreds of millions if we only put such decisions back the way that they were.
The Tory government are really to blame for putting innocent people in this situation by using anti-social villains to implement their degradation, and when involved in a job with the public a person should be adequately qualified in all regards of public performance as no one has the right to attack or injure you.
The only people who are lawfully allowed to restrain you are the police, and to even touch a person is intimidation, but obviously, this security guard thought that he was above and beyond the law.
As for the DWP saying they’re completely committed to the disabled, it’s only a statement and it means nothing. The main problem is that too many face to face assessors and DWP decision makers are gravely inadequate, and it’s a travesty.
It seems to be that only a limited number of people are being given benefits at the first hurdle in the hope that it scares the claimant enough to give up or die waiting, and the DWP is managing a brutal and faulty policy, and rather than targeting the malingerers they throw everyone in the same bracket and put many thousands of people through needless stress when their lives are hard enough.
Apparently, we have the Royalty of Cruelty here with Iain Duncan Smith and Ester McVile. You know when you’re young and you have those daisies and you pick off each petal, “He loves me, he loves me not.” Well, here’s Smith and McVile, “They live, nah, they die.”
The policy of putting disabled people through assessments has been made extremely traumatic for them under this Government and it’s consequently reasonable if people get discouraged and maybe elevate their voice, but unless the husband of the disabled woman was actually assaulting a member of staff, there really was no justification for this sort of brutality from a very poorly trained security guard.
Claimants are being rejected by Atos and Capita only to drop dead a day later. The system is defective, and if it wasn’t then people wouldn’t need to raise their voices and get annoyed.
The system clearly needs fixing, and these private firms who most of the time don’t even have medical experience need to be abandoned, and this entire mayhem is because of the pathetic Tory party who handles everyone who is somewhat different as a threat to their profits.
No matter what the old man did, there’s no justification at all for brutality, the guard was clearly extremely badly qualified, not to mention, totally abandoned his duty of care as evidenced by the man’s injuries.
Force should only ever be used as an absolute last resort, and if this incompetent lump couldn’t control a 62-year-old man, then obviously he’s in the wrong job. Not to mention he had Keith in a choke hold which is forbidden and totally banned within the security industry, not to mention super dangerous.
Those people that are sick are being slandered and treated worse than trash, not because it saves the public pocket any actual money but because the Tories are ideologically predisposed to it. The trouble is, there are terrible dangerous people out there that let them get away with it, and those people will swallow anything the Government tells them.
These people will convene on the sidelines and tell you that people on benefits and sickness and those who are disabled are affecting our budget, but you should be far more worried about the Government misleading you. The Tories will say anything to distract attention away from tax breaks for capitalists and corporations, and Theresa May and her forerunners have brainwashed the public to shun the poor.
And even if this couple were a tad bad-tempered at her earlier assessment, I’ve been to some of these assessments where the workers are ignorant, appalling and incredibly uncaring, enough to dishevel the wings of a saint, and there’s definitely no justification for mistreating an elderly gentleman and wounding him.
The security guard is appealing, and obviously not so appealing from his mug shot, and on his appeal, his sentence should actually be extended because nobody has the authority, particularly if they’re in a job of power, to harm or maim another person.
The United Kingdom is getting a little like Hitler’s Germany. Hitler’s racial cleansing programme actually began with the euthanasia of the disabled, then moved on to Gipsies and Jews. Now we have the disabled and all classes of the unemployed.