The Home Office does not publish data on the deaths of asylum seekers in its housing...
... despite calls from experts and campaigners to do so. We set out to gather as much information as possible about each of them. Here, we tell their stories.
Abdul Rahman Jamal Saleh Suleiman, from Libya, was found dead in Bristol harbour on 31 August 2022, according to a police appeal for witnesses. It’s believed he entered the water five days earlier.
A redacted entry in the Home Office’s Incident Database and related High Profile Notification (HPN) form appears to relate to his death – though Avon and Somerset police and Coroner’s office would not confirm if it was the same person. The date of birth, nationality and circumstances of the death match those in the police appeal and coroner’s records.
According to the HPN form, officers struggled to identify the body as he had been “in the water for some time and normal fingerprint identification would not be possible”. His identity was established on 3 September 2022.
An update to the form on 27 October 2022 said: “Coroner stated that the cause of death REDACTED however it is not known what happened to lead up to that point.” Avon Coroner’s court said it could not yet provide a cause of death.
An inquest has been ordered but as of March 2023 the date was yet to be set.
A post-mortem report for Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah Alhabib, 41, suggests he died by heart attack. Notes from an inquest say Alhabib was last seen at midnight on 5 August 2020, playing dominoes with friends.
He had told them that he had tingling in his fingers, but other than that felt fine.
Alhabib had been suffering dental problems since July 2020, including a broken tooth for which he'd been prescribed antibiotics and painkillers. He was found on his bed, his medication untouched. The post-mortem found no drugs or alcohol in his system.
Notes on the Home Office Incident Database reference "some indication of a suicide note written in English", which contained "not cryptic but not clear threats to take self's life".
An asylum seeker who knew Alhabib told the Guardian he dreamed of bringing his wife and four young daughters out of Yemen and to safety. “He was a very gentle man,” they said.
Adnan Walid Elbi arrived in the UK in July 2019 and his asylum claim was outstanding at the time of his death in May 2020. He was being accommodated in a hotel in Glasgow at the time.
On 21 April 2020, Elbi was taken to hospital, according to Home Office records. He had felt suicidal or attempted suicide on three occasions, and his appointments with a mental health specialist were repeatedly cancelled, according to internal records. He struggled to obtain mental health medication because he hadn't seen a doctor and had been buying it from local homeless people.
Elbi was found dead on 5 May 2020. Police suspected a drug overdose, but Home Office records suggest substance abuse was not confirmed.
In September 2020 the charity Positive Action in Housing wrote to Scotland’s first minister on behalf of Elbi’s mother, who lives in Syria, requesting assistance to arrange a visit to her son’s grave. In it, she said: “He worked hard and sent money home when he was in Libya. He was so tired but he tried to support us. I need him to know that his mother was at his graveside once, it would ease the pain in my heart and my family’s hearts.”
Ahmed Albukhari Afif, known to friends as Bukhary, died in his room at a hotel near Heathrow on 18 July 2021. A post-mortem found he suffered sudden death in epilepsy (SUDEP). This is considered a natural cause, meaning an inquest would not take place.
It is widely accepted the risk of death from epilepsy can be minimised with medication and a healthcare plan. Afif had arrived in the UK three months earlier. An incident report sent by Clearsprings safeguarding staff to the Home Office states he had "no previous health concerns", suggesting they were not aware of or hadn't recorded his conditions.
Badreddin Abdalla Adam Bosh, 28, was shot dead by police on 26 June 2020 after stabbing six people at the Park Inn hotel in Glasgow. He had reportedly applied to voluntarily return to Sudan, but the process was delayed by the pandemic.
Bosh had been staying in the hotel for three months and at the time of the incident he had been self-isolating with suspected Covid-19, without having been tested, for about 28 days.
Two asylum seekers who were stabbed called for an independent investigation. They said they did not blame Bosh for the attack, because his mental health had declined sharply, but expressed serious concerns about alleged failings by the Home Office and Mears.
Bosh reportedly complained of noise being made by a person in the neighbouring room, which disturbed his sleep. A leaked Home Office document reported in the Guardian revealed Adam had made 72 calls seeking help from the Home Office and its contractors prior to the incident. An incident report completed by a member of Mears staff on 26 June 2020, seen by Liberty Investigates, reveals reports that Bosh threatened people at the hotel the previous night, however the worker chose not to involve the emergency services.
Haydar Alzokra, 28, from Lebanon, was found dead in the Manchester Ship Canal on 25 July 2022, according to a report in the Manchester Evening News.
A note in the Home Office Incident Database suggests he passed away in “possible suspicious circumstances” and the cause of his death was unknown. The most recent update, dated 8 August 2022, said the investigation was ongoing and “likely to take some time.”
Alzokra arrived in the UK on 3 June 2021 and had been staying in housing run by Serco in the North West of England.
An inquest into his death was opened on 10 August 2022 where the coroner heard his cause of death was “unascertained”, according to news reports.
This 23-year-old arrived in the UK in May 2020 and submitted an asylum claim. He'd fled Eritrea aged 14 to escape persecution and compulsory military service, the BBC reports.
On 2 August 2021, he was arrested on suspicion of assault. The next day, West Midland Police told Serco staff that he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act as he was "presenting as very unwell".
On 13 August, Serco made attempts to contact his family and friends. Four days later, staff called the hospital and were told by a nurse that he'd died several days earlier. There are no further details on the Home Office's Incident Database. The case was marked "open", though a BBC article states he died by suspected suicide.
His brother Tewelde Zaid described him to the BBC as a “friendly and kind, football-loving young man”. Reportedly “always the joker”, the 23-year-old was seen by friends as honest and principled.
Irakli Kapanadze, an asylum seeker from Georgia, was found dead outside his Home Office hotel in Wakefield, according to media reporting of the opening of his inquest.
Kapanadze entered the UK legally in July 2022 and reportedly previously received hospital treatment after an instance of self-harm, according to the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Senior coroner Kevin McLoughlin said a pathologist had given a provision cause of death as hanging, the report added.
Ismail Hassan, 27, from Sudan, was found in Cardiff's Roath Recreation Ground on 19 April 2020 having attempted suicide. He was taken to hospital where he died at 2.20am on 21 April, according to Wales Online which reported the inquest.
Hassan had been granted refugee status a month before his death, on 17 March 2020, and left his asylum accommodation a short time later, according to the Home Office's Incident Database. An inquest heard his sister had recently died in an accident. His father said this would have "affected Ismail greatly".
Leonard Farruku is thought to have died by suicide while being accommodated on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset, according to media reports.
News of a death on the barge, which is run by private firm Corporate Travel Management, broke on 12 December 2023.
Leonard’s sister, Jola Dushku, 33, reportedly told the Telegraph he was “treated like an animal” before his death.
“He came to the UK with the dream to find better work and, most importantly, to get indefinite leave to remain in the UK,” Dushku told the Telegraph.
The Bibby Stockholm, part of the Home Office’s attempt to move away from use of hotels, has encountered numerous problems since it opened in July 2023. These include health and safety issues and the discovery of potentially deadly legionella bacteria in the water supply.
Mercy, 34, from Uganda, died in a flat provided by Mears in Glasgow in August 2020. Her baby son was found malnourished in the flat four days later after support workers couldn't get hold of her.
Press reports at the time suggested Baguma was starving. A post-mortem she died from alcohol poisoning and ketoacidosis, but also found no evidence of a history of alcohol abuse, the Herald reported.
According to the charity Positive Action in Housing, Baguma was struggling before her death because she lost her job when her leave to remain in the UK expired. She submitted an asylum claim but under the rules was barred from working, and relied on charities and friends for food and essentials.
Eric Nnana, father of Baguma's child, has called for a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into her death. “There’s still so many mysteries about what happened ... I think an FAI is the best and maybe the only way to see, learn and improve things," he said, according to a report in the Herald.
“Mercy was a rainbow,” a close friend told the Guardian. “She had such a vibrant spirit. As a friend, she would always put you first. She really was the best of the best.”
Mohammed Camara, 26, from Ivory Coast, arrived in the UK in June 2020. After being released from immigration detention, he was put up in a hotel in London.
He'd been deemed a level-two 'adult at risk' and the Home Office found there were reasonable grounds to conclude he was a victim of modern slavery.
In the lead up to his death, Camara is said by witnesses to have requested and been refused medical help from staff at the hotel for increasing back pain. He was found dead in his room on 9 November 2020. The coroner found no link between the back pain and his death, though they accepted Camara had requested help.
One friend described Camara to Liberty Investigates as “a man with a good heart”.