Police are currently investigating after a young Sudanese asylum seeker was found dead in the early hours of Sunday in a hotel near Heathrow airport.
The man, understood to be 24 years old, has been in the UK for four months after spending several months sleeping under a bridge in Calais, was found dead just before 1am on Sunday at the Crown Plaza hotel near Heathrow which the Home Office uses to accommodate asylum seekers.
Fellow asylum seekers at the hotel staged a protest after his body was discovered, holding a sign which said: ‘refugee lives matter’ and ‘he is neglected to death’.
Founder of the charity Care4Calais, Claire Moseley said: “He was friends with our volunteers in both Calais and the UK. He was cheerful and jokey under the most difficult circumstances. Having survived unknown horrors in his home country and a gruelling journey to get here in search of safety we are devastated that his short life has been cut short here in the UK”.
Founder of Humans for Rights Network, Maddie Harris, said: “We stand in solidarity with this man’s family and call for an immediate and transparent investigation into his death”.
A further demonstration has been organised outside the hotel to raise concerns about the death.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are truly saddened to hear of the death of an individual in asylum accommodation. The health and wellbeing of asylum seekers will always be our priority. We are working closely with a range of organisations to ensure immediate support and assistance is provided to people living in the accommodation who have been affected by this tragic death and await further information from the Metropolitan police as to the findings of their ongoing investigation”.
A Metropolitan police spokesperson said: “Shortly before 1am on Sunday, 18th July police were notified by the London ambulance service about report of a person deceased at an address on Stockley Road, West Drayton. Officers and paramedics attended and a man in his 20’s was pronounced dead at the scene. The man’s death is not being treated as suspicious and steps are being taken to inform his next of kin”.
Twenty-nine asylum seekers died in Home Office accommodation last year, five times as many as those who lost their lives on perilous Channel small boat crossings over the same period.