First Posted on Antidepaware.co.uk
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By Hannah Bewley
A WELL-LOVED man who had mental health issues killed himself as a direct result of being evicted from his social housing, a coroner ruled.
Nygel Firminger died in April last year and was found after he slit his wrist at his former flat, after gaining entry through a window.
Coroner Andrew Walker recorded a narrative verdict at the North London Coroner’s Court, in Barnet, on Wednesday, July 10.
It read: “On April 2, 2012, at his former home, Nygel Firminger was found having taken his own life as a direct consequence of him being evicted and the effect that the eviction had on his mental health.”
Mr Firminger, 44, was taking medication for depression and had been evicted from his flat in Cambridge Court, Kilburn, on March 28 last year, the court heard.
He returned five days later and was found on his bed.
The former catalogue model had been unemployed for more than a month at the time of his death after a construction job ended. He had been getting in to rent arrears with social housing provider Genesis Housing for his flat.
He left a note on a mobile phone which said: “I have taken my own life because I have been evicted from my flat. I am afraid of being left on the street with nothing.”
Mr Walker said: “The family may have concerns as to how Nygel slipped through the net.
“He was never asked if he was vulnerable.
“There were opportunities when the information about his mental health could have been passed to his solicitor or the housing association. Nygel himself was given the chance to make representations in court and it is very difficult to understand why he didn’t do this.
“Since this happened, a number of steps have been taken which will hopefully prevent a tragedy like this in the future.”
Mr Firminger’s niece and sister-in-law were at the hearing.
The family has lived in Ireland for many years.
Niece Emer McCrann said: “We weren’t close but he was still my uncle. We came over from Ireland for the inquest.
“My father, Nygel’s brother, killed himself as well but that didn’t come out in the inquest.”
Mr Firminger’s friends and fellow members of Kilburn Unemployed Workers’ Group said he was a popular man.
Close friend Paul Lloyd, 47, of Wembley Central, said: “I met him when we were both very young, he was very charming and charismatic.
“He used to be a catalogue model back in the day and he was an individual dresser.
“He was known for his hats and his bomber jacket in Kilburn.”
Nick Griffiths, another friend, said: “He was a lot more vulnerable than they knew. He was very dependent on his mother and when she died that hit him hard. He had a lot of health issues.
“He was like family to me and his family were my family too.
“He was an outgoing friendly person and was very well-liked.”
Mr Firminger liked art and music and collected a wide range of 1980s memorabilia.
In evidence read out at the inquest, Adeshina Uthman, collection manager from Genesis Housing Association, said that they were unaware of Mr Ferminger’s mental health problems, but following his death procedures had changed and tenants are asked more questions, including whether they consider themselves to be a vulnerable person.