Page last updated at 19:02 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

Man dies during visit by bailiff

Andy Miller
Mr Miller had suffered a stroke following his heart attack in October

A 78-year-old man from Accrington collapsed and died from a heart attack after being taken to a cash machine by a bailiff to pay a 60 speeding fine.

Retired pub landlord Andy Miller had only been released from hospital a fortnight before following an earlier heart attack in October.

Mr Miller's family said they had told the Lancashire magistrates who ordered the bailiffs about his health problems.

Justice Minister Jack Straw has ordered an inquiry into Mr Miller's death.

The bailiff called at his house in India Street on 7 January and persuaded him to get into his car and go to Accrington town centre.

The father-of-five collapsed on his way to a cash machine while the bailiff parked and waited for the money.

'Under duress'

The death is not being treated as suspicious.

His son, Mick, 48, from Lower Darwen, Blackburn, said: "We made countless phone calls and sent numerous letters to the court to tell them about dad's stay in hospital.

"The bailiff called at his house and said he had to make a payment, otherwise they would bring a delivery van and locksmith. He said they would get into the property and take goods and there was nothing he could do about it.

Why didn't the court service take into account that Mr Miller was in poor health?
Greg Pope, Hyndburn MP

"My father then agreed to be driven to get some cash. I believe he was put under duress. We just want some answers as to why the bailiffs were called in."

The pensioner spent 10 days in a coma when he suffered a stroke following his heart attack at the Blackburn Rovers football ground, Ewood Park, on 25 October.

He left hospital just before Christmas to spend time with his family.

Magistrates in Blackpool gave permission for the bailiffs to collect the debt, which included 300 costs which arose from the speeding offence committed on the M55 motorway.

Hyndburn MP Greg Pope referred the case to Mr Straw who has ordered an investigation.

'Our condolences'

Mr Pope said: "There are many things about this case which require an answer. Why didn't the court service take into account that Mr Miller was in poor health?

"There needs to be some sort of answer to that question and I hope the court service will come forward and do that."

A spokesman for Her Majesty's Courts Service said: "We offer our condolences to Mr Miller's family.

"At the request of the local MP, Greg Pope, we will conduct an investigation into the circumstances around this and will report back to the family and MP."

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