Dubai: An autistic man who spent his school days in Dubai, was found dead in his room in the United Kingdom, his father confirmed to Gulf News.
Ayman Habayeb’s body was found in his room at least nine months after his death, his father Fuad Habayeb said in an email sent to Gulf News. Fuad said that Ayman, 28, was under the care of Milton Keynes city social service.
His decomposed body was discovered in a cupboard in his flat on August 21, after housing association officials called to evict him due to unpaid rent. It is believed he had hanged himself.
Fuad said his son had memorable times in Dubai as he had completed his high school at Jumeirah College in Dubai. Ayman lived in Dubai from 2006 to 2009 and then left to study IT at a university in UK.
According to UK-based newspaper Mirror, the autistic man who took his own life after the Department of Work and Pension (DWP) cut his benefits, left a damning suicide note blasting the system. He was living in Milton Keynes town in Buckinghamshire, England, about 50 miles north-west of London. Ayman was found dead in August - nine months after he died - when housing association officials called to evict him due to unpaid rent.
His father said that Ayman was under the care of Milton Keynes city social services.
“Ayman had lots of fond memories living with us in Dubai and kept in touch with Dubai friends,” Fuad said.
In his note, the 28-year-old, who was diagnosed with autism and depression, wrote that he was no longer able to pay rent or afford food after his benefits were halted, and he feared he would end up living on the street.
He claimed bosses at the Department for Work and Pensions had ignored his needs and “terminated” his benefits just to save the Government money.
He also told how he was tired of “dealing with paperwork, making phone calls and feeling anxious every day about whether I am going to be homeless”.
His benefits were halted late last year and his parents say his debts were mounting and he was threatened with eviction.
His parents, who claim he was failed by the system, said they later checked his computer and found a suicide note explaining how he planned to end his life.
It was written during the summer of 2018 before Ayman is believed to have hanged himself in November last year.
He wrote: “My only income has been employment and support allowance benefits as I am unfit for work. On August 15 2018 the Department for Work and Pensions decided to terminate those benefits. This means I am no longer able to pay rent or afford food.
“I decided that I would not bother fighting this, and will exit instead. I have written this page to explain my decision to friends and to answer anticipated questions.”
Ayman who was estranged from his parents, told how he was ordered to attend a “work capability assessment” and refused.
He added: “I attended one before. The outcome was they reduced my benefits and completely ignored my needs. If the DWP are not going to understand that my condition is immutable, then I am not going to play along.
“Such assessments are obviously not meant to help the disabled stay on benefits but to instead save the government money.”
His notes revealed he had attempted to hang himself on three occasions between 2016 and 2018, but had “failed with panic” each time.
A week on from his funeral, Ayman’s parents, Fuab and Annabela, said they had fought for six years to see him after he told social workers he did not want any contact with his family and his wish was granted.
His grief-stricken dad told the MKCitizen, a local newspaper in Milton Keynes: “He did not have the mental capacity to make that decision. If we had been allowed to see him we would have helped him and his life could have been saved.”
The local authorities would not give them any information about their vulnerable son because he was an adult, they added.
It is understood that Ayman had ended his contact with social services before his death.
There was a pile of unopened post relating to his debts and eviction and notes from the social services saying they had called but he was out, the parents said.
According to reports, Ayman was last seen alive in November 2018, according to his parents, who have questioned how he was not discovered sooner.
They have demanded a full safeguarding investigation by Milton Keynes Council which has launched a serious case review.
An inquest into Ayman’s death is due to take place in December.
A DWP spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Habayeb’s family and friends at this difficult time. We are committed to ensuring that people with health conditions get the support they need.
“Suicide is a very complex issue and while the inquest examines this tragic case, it wouldn’t be right to draw conclusions.”
A spokesman for Milton Keynes Council added: “This is a tragic situation. We, like all agencies who gave support, will be involved in a formal review.
According to the MKCitizen, Ayman, for reasons not known to his parents, told social services he wished to have no contact with his family and he even changed his name to Roy.
What Ayman's mother says
Heartbroken mother Annabela described how she and her husband Fuad had battled for years with social services to be allowed to see their son.
She said: “We used all resources, including a lawyer, but the court refused to hear our case. We tried to get information from the local authorities about our son’s welfare but were denied as our son was an adult.
Annabela also set up a Facebook page in the hope people would send her information about Ayman,
She said: “Having raised our son from birth he vanished from our lives. Not knowing if our son was dead or alive, safe and well, I decided to make this page a way of reaching out in the hope someone working close to him or our son seeing it, he would want to get in touch.”
MK Council has now agreed a serious case review will be held into Ayman’s death to discover whether he was failed by the authorities.
Council leader Pete Marland said: “I am told that the man was known to several support services in Milton Keynes but may have been refusing help and intervention. However, given the circumstances I think it is only right this case is reviewed by a multi-agency safeguarding review to establish the facts and investigate the circumstances of this death.”