Home News “They left me with nothing”: mentally ill man’s belongings binned by contractors

“They left me with nothing”: mentally ill man’s belongings binned by contractors

A vulnerable Islington man says council contractors threw away his books and clothes
A vulnerable Islington man says council contractors threw away his books and clothes - Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash

A vulnerable Islington man says council contractors threw away books and clothes belonging to him, leaving him traumatised and pushed “to the edge”.

Ross Specterman, who suffers from mental health problems and is recovering from a serious infection brought about by his diabetes, said the council was moving him from one flat to another when their contractors took his personal belongings without permission, including a set of Encyclopedia Brittanica.

“I don’t have much going on in my life, you know? Reading keeps me interested. I like reading about history, fiction, all sorts. I had already told the council that my books are what I care about the most. My Encyclopedia Brittanica [books] were quite expensive for me to buy, too,” Mr Specterman said.

He added that the council’s response to the incident was “insensitive to say the least.”

In an email sent by Islington council to Mr Specterman in June, a council representative wrote that the items were thrown away because “they were believed to be of no monetary value.”

The council has since asked the contractors to give £1000 in compensation to Mr Specterman but he has turned down the offer, describing it as “an insult to my circumstances and the seriousness of what happened. This was a sadistic and twisted violation of my rights. It pushed me to the edge.”

Mr Specterman acknowledged the flat was “in a mess,” but stressed that this was a result of his worsening mental and physical illness: “I was very unwell at the time and it was hard. I’m not saying the place was tidy, but there was a kind of order in certain places – there wasn’t any mess on my bookshelves, but they just threw everything away. They left me with nothing.”

The council has declined to comment.

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