A homeless man who became a cause célèbre after dying in an underpass a short distance from Parliament had a place to stay and died from a spice overdose, according to an inquest.
Marcos Amaral Gourgel, an Angolan with Portuguese citizenship, was championed as a symbol of Britain’s supposedly heartless system after his death, with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn laying a floral tribute with a hand-written card at the spot where he died.
“The powerful can’t carry on walking by on the other side while people don’t have a home to call their own,” the elderly socialist declared.
“It’s time all MPs took up this moral challenge and properly housed everyone.”
Blanket press coverage of Gourgel’s death appeared to evaporate after it turned out he was actually an illegal migrant and convicted paedophile who had already been deported from Britain twice — the mainstream media apparently not considering the threat to children posed by failed border security as newsworthy as the plight of the homeless.
Now an inquest reveals that, on top of this, he actually did have a place to stay, and was killed not by government austerity or cutbacks, but by ingesting spice — a dangerous form of synthetic cannabis also known as the ‘zombie drug’.
I've just been told about the death of a rough sleeper right by the entrance to Parliament. The powerful can't carry on walking by on the other side while people don't have a home to call their own. It's time all MPs took up this moral challenge and properly housed everyone.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 14, 2018
Gourgel was in the underpass because he had walked out of his accommodation in the Glass Door Winter Shelter in Wandsworth “of his own accord” after starting an altercation with two other residents.
Boguslaw Szewczk, who works at Glass Door, told the inquest: ‘”[Gourgel] came in at 8:45 p.m., he was in an argument with Shane and Gary over something.
“He called them ‘you alcoholics’ [and] this obviously upset Gary and Shane so I pulled him over and said there’s no room for such derogatory comments.
“He wasn’t happy about it and wouldn’t sleep. He asked for the names so he could call the police and report that he was being bullied.
“We declined to give him names outside what he knew. No-one was bullying him at 1.30 in the morning as everyone was asleep.
“He washed and left. He left of his own accord.”
“A number of deaths are coming to our attention as a result of ingestion of spice — it can cause death due to fatal cardiac arrhythmia,” noted Assistant Coroner Shirley Radcliffe, recording the cause of death as “misuse of drugs”.