Newtongrange man: ‘Don’t throw my son out of his mum’s house’

Newtongrange man Christopher Phillips(Snr), with his son Chris
Newtongrange man Christopher Phillips(Snr), with his son Chris

A Newtongrange man has appealed to the council to reconsider evicting his mentally ill son from his recently deceased mum’s home.

Christopher Phillips (66), is concerned that his paranoid schizophrenic son, also Christopher Phillips, (34), would break-into the council property on Suttieslea Terrace if he was evicted and someone else moved in.

Midlothian Council said that Christopher has no legal right to the home.

Since his mum Anne Phillips died, aged 64, from a lung infection in October, Christopher has chosen to stay at her home instead of his council flat at Suttieslea Park.

His dad revealed why: “Christopher has serious mental health problems. He has a tendency to take his clothes off and go into the street. It’s horrendous.

“I know we don’t have any legal rights to his mum’s house but it’s the only place he feels safe. She really looked after Christopher. She was his rock.

“The council has a moral duty to protect him. It’s not about the house. I just know that if he was in his flat he would need 24 hour support.

“I live nearby and although I was separated from my wife we were a close family and would help each other out. All I want is for my son to be safe.

“He had been living with his mum until May, then he was given his own council flat. But he still stayed with her most of the time. And he has been there ever since she died.

“If they gave that house to someone else he will still go back there. I have tried to get him up to the flat but he doesn’t want to go there.

“It couldn’t get any worse for him. It’s a horrible situation. Schizophrenia is a horrible disease to deal with, but his mum’s death has made him worse. I can’t leave him on his own for five minutes.”

Mr Phillips is partially disabled himself, suffering from arthritis. Since the death of his wife he has had to care for his two young children and Christopher - who no longer receives social care.

Mr Phillips said: “The situation is getting worse. The social work department has left me on my own with Christopher and two young kids.

“I don’t know why they have stopped his care. But they have went to a whole new level. They are not giving me any reasons.

“They have looked after him since about 2010, maybe even longer. He has been in and out of psychiatric hospital since he was 17.

“After his mum died the council stated that Christopher would be safer in the flat. And that he would get over his mum, how can they be so callous about it?

“He has had no support since his mum died. Nobody from social care has spoken to him since.

“If anything happens to me then there is my two young kids (aged seven and five) left without a dad, and Christopher without any support.”

A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “Christopher does not have a legal right to succeed the tenancy at his mother’s home as he has a Scottish Secure Tenancy at his own home.

“Provision for succession to a Scottish Secure Tenancy is made by the Housing (Scotland) Act, 2001, to a qualifying person on the death of the tenant. Schedule 3 defines who is a person qualified to succeed to a tenancy and the circumstances in which they can succeed. The first priority goes to a surviving joint tenant, or the tenant’s surviving spouse, co-habitee or same sex partner, providing the house has been their sole or principal home for the six months previous to the tenant’s death.

“The second priority goes to a member of the tenant’s family aged over 16 years, provided that the home was their only or principal home at the time of the tenant’s death. And the third priority goes to a carer, aged over 16 years provided that they have given up their previous, only home to be qualified to succeed.”

And the spokesman added: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, we continue to offer support as appropriate.”