Author: Amber Hicks
Marcos Amaral Gourgel, 35, was found dead at Westminster Tube Station on the morning of Valentine’s day – just hours after a row with two other homeless men at a shelter
A homeless ex-model who died in the cold outside Westminster Tube Station was a paedophile illegal immigrant who had taken Spice, an inquest has heard.
Marcos Amaral Gourgel, was found dead on the morning of Valentine’s Day this year, just yards from the MPs’ entrance to Parliament.
Hours earlier the 35-year-old had left a homeless shelter due to a row with two other sleepers when he called them ‘alcoholics’.
He left the shelter at around 2.30am and returned to Westminster Tube Station, where he was found dead less than five hours later.
Temperatures had plunged to minus two before he was found and his death was used as a symbol of an uncaring society as he was found in the tube underpass used by politicians to get to Westminster.
Before details of his past emerged, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn left a floral tribute to the man, writing: “This should never have happened.
“As a country we must stop walking by. Rest in peace.”
A toxicology report found that the former male model had ingested synthetic cannabis – known as Spice – which can cause sudden death.
The inquest was also told that Mr Gourgel had been known to homeless charities since 2008, and at the time of his death he was unemployed and identified by his fingerprints.
He was convicted of sexually abusing a child in the UK and deported back to Portugal after his sentence in 2014.
Portuguese government officials previously confirmed Mr Gourgel was deported in 2014 and 2016.
Coroner’s Officer Komi Omadoye said: “He is survived by a brother who lives in Venezuela and two sisters who live in Portugal.
“Not a lot is known about his previous medical history apart from that he was a chaotic binge drinker and sometimes presented as paranoid.”
In a statement read to the inquest, Linda Alexander, deputy manager of homeless charity Connection said: “Mr Gourgel was known to services since March 2008 when he first presented here.
“He was focusing on looking for employment and accomodation.
“There were periods where they didn’t see him, notably between 2011 and 2015 and also between September 2016 and January 2018 when he presented here in January 2018.
“He told us he had been sleeping rough in Amsterdam since August 2017 and he was in Portugal before that.
“He was reticent about providing more detail regarding his absence and why he had returned to us and under what circumstances.”
Ms Alexander said that Mr Gourgel had previously had ‘some success’ in finding work in the hospitality industry, but was struggling by January 2018 to find employment.
She said he had also “voiced an interest in the performing arts industry”.
Ms Alexander continued: “His mental health was of concern as he was paranoid and sought attention from the staff constantly about employment and accommodation although there were plans in place.”
Boguslaw Szewczk from Glass Door Winter Shelter in Wandsworth, where Mr Gourgel has been staying, told the inquest of the argument with two other homeless people Mr Gourgel had.
Mr Szewczk said: “It was a busy evening, there were 33 people on the list for the shelter that night – 28 turned up and 27 people bedded down.
“Marcos came in at 8.45pm, he was in an argument with Shane and Gary over something.
“He called them ‘you alcoholics’ 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.
Recording a verdict of death by misuse of drugs, Assistant Coroner Shirley Radcliffe said: “There was no alcohol in his blood but there was evidence of synthetic cannabis also known as Spice.
“The doctor finds on the balance of probabilities that the cause of death in this gentleman was synthetic cannabis, spice, ingestion.
“His death was due to misuse of drugs.”