The family of the man discovered deceased on Bibby Stockholm resort to crowdfunding for the transportation of his remains back home.

Leonard Farruku’s family is facing a double tragedy as they are unable to bring his body back home to Albania after his apparent suicide on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland, Dorset. To cover the costs of repatriation, the family has turned to crowdfunding.

The 27-year-old Farruku was found unresponsive on the vessel on 12 December. The barge was being used by the Home Office to accommodate asylum seekers. Jola Dushku, Farruku’s sister, expressed her grief, saying, “It was a tragedy losing a brother under these circumstances, but it is doubly tragic that we cannot bring his body home for the funeral.”

Dushku believes that her brother would still be alive if he had not been placed on the barge. She stated, “If my brother wasn’t on that boat, he would have had a normal and peaceful life ahead. This tragedy would not have happened if he had not been placed there.”

An inquest is currently open regarding Farruku’s death. The senior coroner, Rachael Griffin, stated that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the incident and has requested written statements from the Home Office and other authorities involved.

After Farruku’s death, over 60 charities, including Refugee Action, Refugee Council, Care4Calais, and Refugees at Home, demanded the immediate closure of the Bibby Stockholm in a letter to the Guardian.

Deborah Coles, director of the charity Inquest, voiced concerns about the case, criticizing the Home Office’s handling of the situation. She said, “The Home Office was warned about the negative impact the barge would have on the mental and physical health of those placed on it but has continued to accommodate people there. Inquest asked the Home Office to contribute to the cost of repatriating Leonard’s body, but officials refused. That is appalling, given that he was in the care of the Home Office at the time of his death. This decision lacks humanity.”

Farruku’s family was unaware of any mental health issues he might have had before he was placed on the barge. They are demanding a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.

The family created a crowdfunding page on 28 December last year, seeking assistance to bring Farruku’s body back to Albania. Their appeal for funds stated, “Our brother Leonard Farruku’s life ended unimaginably for all of us while in the UK… Leonard’s body has been in the Dorset morgue since his death on 12 December 2023. We kindly ask for help to raise funds to have Leonard’s body returned from the UK back home to Albania to rest in peace.”

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

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