The family searching for answers over the death of their relative

At the time Damien was reported missing he had been living in supported accommodation due to his severe learning difficulties, autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

When officers broke the news to Damien’s family, what confused them was how little was known about Damien’s final moments. Damien had been found 13 miles from his last known address in Ilford.

The manner of his death was also baffling. Damien was found with 4kg weights tied to his wrists. As he was six feet tall with a broad build, Paula said such a small weight would have had little impact on his ability to swim.

The absence of detail and confusion over his death left the family with more questions than answers, motivating them to begin asking questions

Speaking to MyLondon, Paula said her dad, Gary, “was always calling up asking questions. He was trying to find out more about what happened”. The stress this caused took a toll, and Pauala believes it contributed to his death two months after Damien’s.

Over six months after Damien’s death and Paula has taken up the search for answers. She is determined to get the answers her father was unable to find.

She said her quest for the truth is stronger because her dad said he wanted to know what happened to Damien before he died. As a result, Paula is tracking down people who might have information about Damien’s disappearance.

While the coroner has yet to rule on Damien’s death, the investigation into his death has closed. The family is desperate for an open verdict, a ruling which means there is insufficient evidence to determine how someone died, leaving the case open in the event further information emerges.

In the meantime, Paula’s search continues as she keeps the memory of Damien alive.

She spoke of what Damien was like as a brother growing up. She said his nickname was “George of the Jungle” as he loved climbing trees and was very reclusive. She added: “He lived in his bedroom, never socialising, never had a friend, girlfriend or a mobile phone,” Paula added.

“He was obsessed with CBeebies and Pokemon. He would go out whenever he wanted and come back two days later, trainers covered in mud and in water from rivers. He never talked to anybody. We’d always report him missing, but we knew he’d be climbing trees and fences, that was Damien.”

Despite bright moments, Damien had a difficult childhood. He was bullied at school and help dried up after he turned 18. A battle for independence followed. He found a home in a supported living facility-accommodation, where he could live independently, but have access to 24-hour support if needed.

Samson Olatunnbosun, the owner of the home Damien lived in, told MyLondon about Damen’s disappearance. He said Damien left the property on August 30 and never returned. He added staff immediately reported Damien missing to the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) and reported his disappearance to a social worker.

Samson said Damien was intensely secretive about his room and didn’t let anyone in. However, when a social worker entered his room the day after he went missing, they found it completely empty, and the bed and table had both been damaged.

Samson continued to try and make enquiries until September 7, by which time Damien’s body had already been recovered.

The mystery around Damien’s death continues as the family awaits to hear whether or not they will receive an open verdict.

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