Man, 28, anxious about claiming benefits found ‘mummified’ after lying dead for 9 months

Roy Curtis was found dead in his bedroom (Image: HNP News Desk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

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A 28-year-old man who was anxious about visiting a job centre to keep claiming his benefits was found "mummified" after lying dead for nine months, an inquest heard today.

Roy Curtis had his Government benefits stopped when he refused to attend a fit-to-work assessment in September 2018.

He wrote an email to his friends saying he was going to kill himself.

He was then rushed to A&E by police who were informed and discovered a 40-page suicide note.

Mr Curtis became a patient at a specialist mental health treatment centre, where doctors managed to get his benefits restored, a coroner was told.

After returning home, Mr Curtis was again informed that would need to attend a fit-to-work assessment, causing him to feel stress and pressure, the inquest heard.

Mr Curtis, who had changed his name from Ayman Habayeb, asked his GP surgery for a note which would confirm he was anxious about being in open spaces, meaning he would not have to go into the city centre to attend his appointment, the Milton Keynes coroner was told.

Roy pictured with his mother Annabela
(Image: HNP News Desk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

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Although that letter was provided to him, Mr Curtis was not heard from after November 2018.

His landlords broke into his flat with a High Court bailiff on August 21 last year to evict him after just over £2,767 was owed in rent.

Ian Wright, a bailiff who attended Mr Curtis' flat in Ashland, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, told the inquest he had ventured alone into the flat's bedroom, where he initially did not spot the occupant, only to find him dead.

Mr Wright said: "It was clear and obvious that the male was deceased and I stood and looked at the male for a few seconds before turning around and walking straight out of the address."

Roy as a baby with his parents
(Image: HNP News Desk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

A post-mortem examination described the body as being in a state of "advanced mummification" and revealed there was no blood made available for a toxicological examination.

Detective Constable Lucy Jareth: "In a folder under the table in the lounge was a number of letters which had red handwriting across them.

"The words across the letters were as if the author was distressed about the situation that the benefits and allowances had been stopped."

Dr David Marchevsky told how Mr Curtis, who had a mild diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder Asperger syndrome, had been sectioned for five days in 2012 at the Campbell Centre.

In September 2018, he returned after sending out the email and Dr Marchevsky said the team had helped Mr Curtis get his benefits reinstated.

The doctor said: "He was very polite, well-mannered, very pleasant and a likeable person. He was not particularly happy to be admitted.

"His concerns were nothing to do with medication or psychological treatment, they were more practical things.

"He was quite angry that his life had been changed and turned because of the stopping of his benefits and the reason that he decided to commit suicide was because all his life he was very comfortable with the receipt of benefits and the things he was doing at the time.

"He had a group of friends he was in contact with, particularly electronically. All that was to disappear, so his world was to disappear too."

The last image of Roy before his death
(Image: HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

Dr Marchevsky said that doctors managed to get Mr Curtis' benefits restored and payments backdated while he was still a patient, after which he was happy to return home.

The inquest heard how the deceased had been discharged in October 2018 from the Campbell Centre to the Home Treatment Team, which in turn discharged him to his local GP centre.

However, it was later discovered that Mr Curtis had again been contacted by the benefits agency and asked to attend a fit-to-work assessment once again.

Dr Marchevesky, who only found out about the benefit agency's new request after Mr Curtis' death, commented: "I did not anticipate that the benefits agency were going to do this, particularly so quickly and I did not know until I learned about his death.

"They were told the reasons why he had been admitted, all that information was given to them.

"If I had envisaged that in November or December they were going to do that, probably we would have had a discussion about, 'please do not do this, why are you going to do that?"

A referral note from a community nurse with the Acute Home Treatment Team said: "Main triggers and stresses were his benefits, which were stopped. This has now been reinstated and payment backdated.

"RC expresses stress and pressure that he was placed under the employment activity, meaning he will need to attend the job centre.

"He feels this is a lot of pressure and he feels he should not be asked to work. He wants to discuss this with his GP."

Mr Curtis' mother Annabela said he needed guidance
(Image: HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

Dr Romi Babatunde told the inquest that Mr Curtis had visited a GP at the Grove Surgery on November 15, 2018 and revealed his worries about the looming fit-to-work assessment.

The doctor said: "What he wanted was a letter from us stating that he could not attend another assessment.

"He had got a letter from the department saying that he had to come to the city centre and one of Roy's symptoms was anxiety in open spaces."

A letter was written for Mr Curtis by his GP but the inquest heard nobody from the surgery ever contacted the man, who was not on any medication, again to check on his condition.

Dr Babatunde added: "What was recorded was that the GP will follow up as required and that Roy will contact his GP if he had any problems."

Following Mr Curtis' death, a safeguarding adults review had been carried out by multiple agencies in Milton Keynes, including the council which was legally represented at the inquest.

Tom Osborne, senior coroner for Milton Keynes, said: "The review highlights the onus was very much on Roy to self-refer himself if he had problems."

Mr Curtis had not been seen for nine months when he was found dead
(Image: HNP Newsdesk/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd)

The coroner questioned whether Mr Curtis was "someone who was going to remain high risk, particularly if his rights to benefits were either withdrawn or questioned in the future".

Mr Osborne said: "Rather than go through that process again, he would prefer to die."

Fuad Habayeb, Mr Curtis' father and a chartered engineer who had lived in Dubai with his son from 2005 to 2009, joined the inquest electronically via Microsoft Teams .

Mr Habayeb told the GP: "You could have saved his life, you could have saved this young man. I hope you can live with your conscience."

After the coroner tried to intervene, Mr Habayeb added: "I am sorry, I cannot be calm just like anyone else. For him [the GP] it is just another day, another guy."

His heartbroken parents found a note in Mr Curtis' handwriting in his closet.

The inquest, expected to last two days, continues.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch.

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