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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April, 2005, 12:14 GMT 13:14 UK
Debts 'led to husband's suicide'
A credit card
Borrowers are finding life tough debt collectors say
A woman whose husband killed himself after acquiring 130,000 debts has warned others to avoid similar errors.

Wendy Cullen advised debtors to cut up their credit cards, following the death of her husband Richard.

The 65-year-old spoke of the worry she faced over whether she would be able to keep her Trowbridge, Wilts, home.

She had no idea of the scale of the debt until her husband killed himself. A verdict of suicide was recorded at in inquest in Salisbury this week.

They had been together for 22 years and married for 18.

"He had 22 different credit cards. Three with Barclays as well as a loan, which should never have happened - they must have known - and every other card you could think of. I had no idea," Mrs Cullen said.

Credit cards are thrown at you from every direction
Wendy Cullen
"He wasn't buying anything - it was just interest on interest on interest."

Mrs Cullen, who has six children from a previous marriage, said she believed he started using credit cards five years ago while she was receiving treatment for cancer.

He left the house on 10 January, telling his wife he was going to France.

But on 12 January Mr Cullen's body was found, inside his car with its windows blocked by blankets.

Debt collection

Mrs Cullen said the card companies acted irresponsibly in her husband's case.

"They target people in our position, older people who own their houses," she said.

"Credit cards are thrown at you from every direction."

Earlier this month the Credit Services Association (CSA) said nearly half of its members were finding it harder to collect debt from people and businesses than last year.

The size of the average debt case CSA members deal with has risen from 1,200 to 1,300 over the past two years.

Consumers 'struggling' with debts
19 Apr 05 |  Business

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