Dad 'disgusted' as court sends fines for dead son

A GRIEVING dad is "disgusted" after receiving court fines for his son a year after his death.

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Francis Hughes is still receiving fines for his son Frankie who died a year ago 	                 Main picture: Mark Gibson
Francis Hughes is still receiving fines for his son Frankie who died a year ago Main picture: Mark Gibson

Despite Francis Hughes giving a death certificate to Glasgow Sheriff Court, letters were still being sent ordering his son Francis, known as Frankie, to pay a £60 penalty for drinking in the street.

Francis, 61, contacted the court after receiving the first of three letters and told them he had already provided them with his son's death certificate after he died on July 1, 2013.

However, the heartbroken father was told there was no record of the document in the system.

He continued to receive notices ordering his deceased son to pay the charge or face car clamping, recovery by officers or seizure of funds from bank accounts.

Frankie, who died aged 34, suffered from alcoholism, and had a fatal seizure after going into a city rehab unit last year.

Before his death, he had been fined for drinking in a public place, which was delivered to his dad's house in Calton.

Francis said: "They said he'd need to pay the fine from his benefits, but I told them he had passed away a year ago.

"It destroys you inside, it's heartbreaking.

"As a father, nobody wants to lose his son but it's made worse seeing these fines."

Francis, who used to coach football teams in the Calton area, feels the notices are a constant reminder of the tragedy he and his family faced when they discovered Frankie had died.

His sudden death left his father, brothers and sisters devastated.

The once energetic, sporty and motivated man turned to drink after he lost contact with his only son.

Towards the end of his life, he would drink up to 15 cans of strong cider a day.

"I told him it would strip him of everything he had, and come back to take his life," Francis added,

"We did everything we could to help him but we just couldn't do any more.

"I took him to try and get help but he just returned to the drink every time.

"I still miss him and think about him all the time - I still think he's going to walk through that door."

The former football coach thinks mistakes like those he has faced are disrespectful to grieving families, and added: "That's the sort of thing which really hurts.

"I pointed to the photocopier that they had used the first time at the Sheriff Court and told them they had already taken a copy of the certificate but they wouldn't believe me.

"I don't think I should keep having to go over and repeat myself again and again."

The Sheriff Court admitted an admin error had caused the problem and they had previously had no record of Mr Hughes handing in a death certificate.

After investigations by the Evening Times, the court realised a mistake had been made with Frankie's date of birth, and have now vowed to cancel the outstanding fine.

lGlasgow Council on Alcohol is just one group that offers help and support to anyone experiencing problems related to alcohol consumption. Whether you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, Glasgow Council on Alcohol can help. Log on to www.glasgowcouncilonalcohol.org

hannah.rodger@eveningtimes.co.uk

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