‘Well-loved’ St Leonards dad took his own life on day of eviction

A father from St Leonards was found dead inside his flat on the day he was due to be evicted from the property, an inquest heard.

Michel N’Ganga, 56, was discovered in a basement flat in West Hill Road, St Leonards, on April 8, 2019.

An inquest into his death, held in Hastings on Tuesday (October 15), heard Mr N’Ganga was due to receive a visit from the county court bailiff at 12.30pm ahead of being evicted from the property that day.

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However, once at the property, the bailiff said there was no answer from Mr N’Ganga and a locksmith was called to help gain access to the flat.

Once inside, the bailiff said he found Mr N’Ganga’s body in the front room and called for an ambulance.

Paramedics arrived within four minutes, the court heard, but Mr N’Ganga was pronounced dead at 1.19pm.

The court was read statements from Mr N’Ganga’s GP – Dr Sivanandhem from Warrior Square Surgery – and Rebecca Speight, a service manager from the mental health service Health in Mind.

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Both confirmed that Mr N’Ganga had been living with depression and anxiety since 2010, and was also being treated for post-traumatic stress due to an earlier incident in his life.

Dr Sivanandhem said Mr N’Ganga was prescribed the anti-depressant drug sertraline. A toxicology report found, at the time of his death, Mr N’Ganga had levels of sertraline ‘in excess of a therapeutic range’, however assistant coroner for East Sussex Christopher Wilkinson said this may have been due to him taking larger doses for some time prior to his death.

The court also heard Mr N’Ganga sent a text message to his daughter at 10.05am on the day of his death, saying he had a ‘deep depression’.

Returning a conclusion of suicide, Mr Wilkinson said: “He was clearly a well-loved and respected family man.

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“He had experienced significant trauma, significant hardship and mental health conditions as a result.

“Failing to fully engage with mental health support, he had the options to work with practitioners to resolve his difficulties. Michel was a strong, proud man but unfortunately strong, proud men do not open up to admitting when they have problems.

“Facing potential deportation procedures to remove him from this country and expecting to be removed from his flat that day, Michel was at his wits’ end in terms of coping with mental health problems.

“His text to his daughter was indicative of his state of mind, and his desperation, and for this reason he undertook an action which ended his life.”

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Detective Sergeant Joanna Cooper said a police investigation ruled out any ‘third party involvement’.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the Samaritans may be able to help – the charity’s helpline number is 116 123.

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