Coroner seeks Home Office’s response regarding the deceased individual’s demise on Bibby Stockholm.

A request has been made by the coroner to the Home Office to provide a written statement within six weeks regarding the case of Leonard Farruku, an asylum seeker who is believed to have taken his own life on the Bibby Stockholm barge. The senior coroner, Rachael Griffin, stated during the initial inquest that there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the 27-year-old Albanian man. Farruku’s cousin, Maranglen Farraku, identified his body at the Holly Tree Lodge mortuary in Bournemouth six days after it was discovered on the barge. The coroner’s officer, Nikki Muller, confirmed that Farruku was found deceased at the scene following reports of an unresponsive male. The inquest will continue with a pre-inquest review scheduled for 9 July. Various parties, including the Home Office, port officials, security providers Isca, ship provider Landry and Kling, as well as Dorset police and Dorset council, have been requested to provide written statements. It should be noted that no family members were present at the hearing. According to several asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge, Farruku appeared to be distressed prior to his death, exhibiting signs such as shouting and banging on the cabin wall. In response to Farruku’s passing, over 60 charities, including Refugee Action, Refugee Council, Care4Calais, and Refugees at Home, have called for the immediate closure of the Bibby Stockholm, stating that the conditions on board are akin to a prison and inadequate for individuals who have fled violence and persecution. They also highlight the detrimental impact on mental health and the high cost of operating the barge. Recent reports have also revealed that 23 asylum seekers have taken their own lives in Home Office accommodation over the past four years, a significant increase from the previous four years. Local residents in Portland have joined the call to shut down the barge, with the mayor of Portland town council describing it as cruel, inhumane, and demanding its closure.

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