News

‘TfL fined me £90 for picking up my sister’s death certificate’: Heartbroken woman accuses Sadiq Khan of ‘degrading’ her after she was slapped with congestion charge penalty


A woman has accused Sadiq Khan of ‘degrading’ her after TfL slapped her with a £90 congestion charge penalty while she was picking up her sister’s death certificate. 

Sharon Green, 48, strayed into London‘s congestion charge zone while still rocked by the loss of her beloved baby sister Mia.

She had driven from her north west London home to Camden Town Hall to register Mia’s death and was unaware of low emission scheme in place.

Sharon, still locked in grief, was then hit with a letter from Transport for London demanding immediate payment of £90.

When she informed TfL of her family tragedy it fell on deaf ears and staff still demanded she pay up.

Sharon told MailOnline: ‘They showed no humanity. My mental health and my anxiety. This just crushed me. It was the icing on the cake.’

Sharon Green, pictured, was fined £90 by Transport for London after she inadvertently crossed over the boundary of the Congestion Charge Zone while under pressure to reach an appointment to collect her late sister's death certificate

Sharon Green, pictured, was fined £90 by Transport for London after she inadvertently crossed over the boundary of the Congestion Charge Zone while under pressure to reach an appointment to collect her late sister’s death certificate 

Sharon, pictured with Marie, known by friends and family as Mia, needed the death certificate to arrange her late sister's funeral

Sharon, pictured with Marie, known by friends and family as Mia, needed the death certificate to arrange her late sister’s funeral

The Congestion Charge zone is marked out by large painted areas along with prominent signage

The Congestion Charge zone is marked out by large painted areas along with prominent signage

Ms Green’s family were frantically trying to come to terms with their loss while dealing with the endless bureaucracy associated with the end of life when TfL sent their letter.

The demand was from a TfL pencil pusher called D Milton, whose name is attached to thousands of letters demanding cash on the threat of further action. 

Many warranted. But hundreds of thousands – as MailOnline has proved – are not.

Marie Green, Mia to her friends, was seriously ill but her family did not expect her to die. She was just 38. 

On January 8, Marie was taken to Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow for a procedure. She had a few issues and some problems. She was ill. More gravely than her friends and family had thought.

When she was transferred to the Royal Free, her family were assured that they were the liver specialists. It was the best place to be. If anybody could help, they all worked there.

Sharon Told MailOnline: ‘They did a few blood transfusions and they also put her on dialysis to help her kidneys. But, unfortunately, once her liver started to deteriorate further and then her kidneys had given up, so they told us there was nothing they could do for her.’

The family had not expected this.

She was sedated for most of the time she was in the Royal Free until the day Sharon will never forget. January 17, when her baby sister died.

‘She was 38 years old. She had three children. She had a 21 year old, an 18 year old and a 14 year old. A very young family.

‘She was bubbly, she was mischievous.’ Sharon pauses briefly and smiles raising her left hand to her heart. ‘She’d always put the blame on the oldest one… obviously me. 

‘She was colourful. Just beautiful inside and out.’

‘Obviously after my sister passed we were told me must contact Camden Town Hall to go register her death and get her death certificate. Without the death certificate we wouldn’t have been able to bury my sister.

‘We were told we had to go there on January 20 and it had to be a particular time. If you missed that time slot – they’re very strict – if you missed that time slot, it would have been another two weeks until they had an appointment.’

The pressure was on. Stress increased. Grief. Multiplied.

‘Me and my dad, who is 75, decided that we would drive down and go in together and go and get my sister’s death certificate.

D Milton, Operations Director of Transport for London dismissed Sharon's appeal

D Milton, Operations Director of Transport for London dismissed Sharon’s appeal

Sharon said if she was aware she had crossed into the C-Charge Zone, she would have paid the fee. She said she was only concerned that day with picking up her late sister's death certificate so her family could arrange her funeral without further delay

Sharon said if she was aware she had crossed into the C-Charge Zone, she would have paid the fee. She said she was only concerned that day with picking up her late sister’s death certificate so her family could arrange her funeral without further delay

‘London. I don’t go into London at all. I don’t do trains or buses. I have anxiety… depression, myself. Driving was the only way. I wasn’t familiar with the basics around London.

‘Unfortunately I got myself a ticket or a PCN [Penalty Charge Notice]. It shows my vehicle on that street at that time.

‘Until I received this letter I was unaware that I had gone into the Congestion Zone. With the state of mind I was in anyway. They say that they have signs and a ‘C’ on the floor… but my state of mind wasn’t totally there. I had a one-track-mind to go there and get my sister’s death certificate and come home.’

Sharon was under pressure. 

A singular focus brought her to Camden Town Hall to get her sister’s death certificate resulting in the unbidden correspondence from Transport for London, signed by D Milton.

‘It was not like I went into London to buy a pair of shoes. That wouldn’t have bothered me. If I had gone in an paid £100 for a pair of shoes and then got this… I’d have paid it. But because I had my 75-year-old dad with me… he’s losing the plot because he’s lost my baby sister, he lost my mum 10 years ago… they’ve showed no humanity. It’s all what I should have done and what I could have done.’

With a hearty laugh: ‘I know now… not to drive in London and I probably wouldn’t do it again to be fair. If I knew I was going to get this, it would have put me off bringing my dad to get her death certificate.’

When Jools Holland welcomed in the New Year, Sharon did not expect to be travelling to Camden Town Hall later that month.

‘Until I received this letter I was unaware that I had gone into the Congestion Zone. With the state of mind I was in anyway. They say that they have signs and a ‘C’ on the floor… but my state of mind wasn’t totally there. I had a one-track-mind to go there and get my sister’s death certificate and come home.

Sharon said she never drives into London and was afraid that if she missed the appointment she would have had to wait a further two weeks before being able to arrange her sister's funeral

Sharon said she never drives into London and was afraid that if she missed the appointment she would have had to wait a further two weeks before being able to arrange her sister’s funeral

Sharon, pictured with a photograph of Mia, said she had a full house when they held an old-fashioned wake for her late sister

Sharon, pictured with a photograph of Mia, said she had a full house when they held an old-fashioned wake for her late sister

D Milton, Operations Director for Transport for London wrote to Sharon to inform her that TfL would not use their discretion to quash the PCN as she should have made herself aware her route involved crossing into the Congestion Charge Zone

D Milton, Operations Director for Transport for London wrote to Sharon to inform her that TfL would not use their discretion to quash the PCN as she should have made herself aware her route involved crossing into the Congestion Charge Zone

‘I was very under pressure.

‘We only buried her on Friday just gone. The only thing with the timeline, is because she was in the morgue if we had missed that deadline and it would have been another two weeks – she would have stayed in the morgue for at least eight weeks and that’s not what you want for your loved one.

You want to get them home and get them laid to rest, especially with her been our little sister and her being so young.

‘I did an appeal on the same day I got the letter. I explained the circumstances and I explained the reason why I was in London at that time. I explained about the deadline. Camden Town Hall, I’m not familiar with at all… because she died in the Royal Free.

‘I explained all my circumstances so they were aware, that I wasn’t just driving around London, that there was a reason I was there. I just didn’t realise that I went onto this one street and got the ticket.

Whilst TfL recognises that this must have been a distressing period for you… we have decided on this occasion we are unable to exercise discretion 

D Milton, Head of Operations and Contracts, Transport for London 

‘I thought they could have had some compassion. My sister was a human being… we have lost a member of our family and I just felt… they have shown no compassion. They haven’t even said ‘sorry for your loss’ or sent any condolences.

They have basically just said ‘we understand that you were distressed at this time but unfortunately you should have made yourself aware… that you should have known the zone, you should have known when you went into a zone… when you come out of a zone…’ It just continues. It tells you how you could have purchased a ticket. I don’t ‘deny I was in the zone.

‘If I had had known I was in the Congestion Zone… even just a gentle reminder to say your vehicle was in the… if they understand it was distressing for me why can’t they understand the reason I was there.’

A week ago the family gathered. United. Mia lying in the kitchen. Surrounded by her family and friends. A celebration of her life. And tears. Coffin closed because she had spent too long in the morgue. No last chance to hold her hand.

She said: ‘We only buried her on Friday just gone. The only thing with the timeline, is because she was in the morgue if we had missed that deadline and it would have been another two weeks – she would have stayed in the morgue for at least eight weeks and that’s not what you want for your loved one.

‘You want to get them home and get them laid to rest, especially with her been our little sister and her being so young.’

Sharon drove herself and her 75-year-old father to Camden Town Hall from her home in north west London in her car

Sharon criticised Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, pictured, claiming he should be fighting for the people of London and show some compassion

Sharon criticised Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, pictured, claiming he should be fighting for the people of London and show some compassion

Sharon’s car was identified by Transport for London’s camera system and was sent a Penalty Charge Notice for £90, increasing to £180 and then to £270

Transport for London allows people to appeal. With Ulez, more than 129,000 fines have been overturned because the £650m camera and enforcement system is faulty

There is wriggle room. A chance for basic compassion and common sense to prevail.

For Sharon, if she was sent a gentle reminder that she had strayed into the zone, she would have paid up immediately. Of the issues she was dealing with on that day, Part three of the 2000 Transport Act, amended in 2008 were not among them. 

In Dartford, crossing the toll bridge of tunnel without payment triggers a fine. But for the first offence, a reminder is issued. 

D Milton’s dismissal of Sharon’s appeal acknowledges her grief. 

They write: ‘As the registered keeper of the vehicle it is your legal duty to make yourself aware of any charges, tolls or fines that may be in existence along your route and ensure that you were not in contravention of them. Transport for London (TfL) would like to take this opportunity to advise you that we have made pull payment and Congestion Charging information available through the media and publicity via our website or the contact centre.’ 

The letter continues with a degree of self assurance known only by those who life is ruled by the ‘computer says no’ doctrine of inhumanity. 

‘Whilst TfL recoginise that this must have been a distressing period for you, there is a responsibility for the appropriate charge to have been paid for the use of the vehicle on a road within the Congestion Charging Zone. We have considered fully the issues raised and have decided that on this occasion we are unable to exercise discretion and the PCN will not be cancelled.’  

For Sharon, it is simple: ‘They showed no humanity. My mental health and my anxiety. This just crushed me. It was the icing on the cake. 

‘Sadiq Khan should get out or he should help the people of London. I don’t feel he is giving us the support we actually need. 

‘I’m not a fan of him,’ she pauses briefly, ‘now… I feel degraded by him. I’m crushed. I think he should have more compassion, I think. He should just fight for the people, really.’ 

‘I had her home for the day before. She was in my dining room. We had to have a closed coffin because of the amount of time she spent in hospital. We had a lovely send off. It was an old fashioned wake. 

‘Me and my sisters spent all the night on the couch. It was funny. We had a house full. It was really nice. But it sort of… brought an ending to a beginning. And that’s what happened when this hit me… what else? 

‘I am sickened. I am torn up inside just reading those words. To read all that, it’s just heartbreaking.’

A TfL spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We are very sorry for any distress that Ms Green has experienced. We have reviewed this case and Ms Green’s penalty charge appeal should have been accepted in these circumstances, in line with our established processes. We have cancelled the penalty charge.’



Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button