Author: ZOIE O’BRIEN FOR MAILONLINE
The homeless man whose death close to Parliament sparked fury from Jeremy Corbyn earlier this year was a paedophile illegal immigrant who was twice deported from the UK, an inquest has heard.
Labour leader Corbyn was left livid with the man’s lifeless body was discovered just metres from the heart of UK Government as temperatures plunged below freezing, in February. The opposition boss even left a wreath in his honour.
However, it has now been revealed Portuguese national Marcos Amaral Gourgel was a drug-taking criminal with convictions for abusing children.
On the night of his death he had a shelter to stay in, but argued with residents and left to sleep in a Westminster Station underpass.
The 35-year-old, was found dead on Valentine’s Day just yards from the MP’s entrance to Parliament.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn famously left a floral tribute to the man, writing: ‘This should never have happened.
‘As a country we must stop walking by. Rest in peace.’
An inquest on Thursday heard details of Gourgel’s criminal past and how he was deported in 2014 after being convicted of sexually abusing a child.
He was deported a second time in 2016.
Mr Gourgel had been known to homeless charities since 2008, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.
Coroner’s Officer Komi Omadoye said: ‘At the time of his death he was unemployed and homeless, he was identified by his fingerprints.
‘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.’
The inquest heard that Mr Gourgel was spotted by outreach workers for a homeless charity in January this year and offered a bed space at their night centre.
He stayed at Connection at St Martin in the Fields until February 11 before being offered a place to stay at a shelter ran by Glass Door in Wandsworth.
The inquest heard Mr Gourgel had an argument with two other residents on the night of his death.
He left the shelter at around 2.30am and returned to Westminster tube station, where he was found dead less than five hours later.
Linda Alexander, deputy manager of Connection said Mr Gourgel had previously had ‘some success’ in finding work in the hospitality industry, but was struggling by January 2018 to find employment.
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.
He was seen sleeping rough by the outreach team at Westminster in January 2018 and given a night space in our night centre where he stayed until 12 February.
‘This was just one of the many occasions and he knew the rules very well.
‘He was accepted to move in to the Glass Door Winter Shelter in Wandsworth on the 12 February. He stayed there for the night.
‘He was seen at the day centre the next day and given a mobile phone. He presented to the night service on the evening of the 13 February. He was found by the outreach team on the morning of 14 February.’
Boguslaw Szewczk from Glass Door told the inquest Mr Gourgel had an argument with two other homeless people after he called them ‘alcoholics’.
Mr Szewczk said: ‘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.
‘He washed and left. He left of his own accord.’
A toxicology report found that the former male model had ingested synthetic cannabis known as Spice which can cause sudden death, before he died.
Police and a post-mortem examination did not find any evidence of injuries.
PC Yusuff Enifeni told the inquest that Mr Gourgel’s personal belongings were found on him when he was discovered – including the mobile phone he had recently been given by the homeless charity.
Assistant Coroner Shirley Radcliffe said: ‘There was no evidence of traumatic injury.
‘This is a young man only 35-years-old so unsurprisingly there were no significant problems of disease found in the body at the post-mortem but his lungs were heavily congested.
‘There was no alcohol in 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.’
Recording a verdict of death by misuse of drugs, Dr Radcliffe said: ‘Police said that outreach officers from St Martin in the Fields during their rounds found him unresponsive in the subway area of Wesminster underground station.
‘They recognised he was unresponsive and resuscitation attempted. LAS attended but sadly he was clearly deceased and pronounced dead at the scene.
‘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.
‘I will therefore record that Marcos Gourgel has died from synthetic cannabis, or spice ingestion at 7.03am on the 14 February 2018.
‘He had been found dead in the public subway, exit three, leading from Westminster to Bridge Street.