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'It's devastating': Tributes to rough sleeper, 35, found dead in Ilford

PUBLISHED: 11:28 05 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:37 05 June 2019

The welcome centre supports vulnerable adults and has paid tribute to Mr Ahmed. Picture: John Hercock

The welcome centre supports vulnerable adults and has paid tribute to Mr Ahmed. Picture: John Hercock

Archant

Tributes have been paid to a "hardworking and respectful" man who was found dead in an Ilford underpass.

Sharjeel Ahmed, 35, went out to celebrate Eid on Monday evening (June 3) but never returned.

His body was discovered under a bridge in Griggs Approach the next day and the London Ambulance Service pronounced him dead at the scene.

Mr Ahmed had first come to live in the borough to study a post-graduate degree in business studies in 2011.

After completing the course he found it hard to find jobs in his chosen field so began working in hotels in Liverpool Street.

After a relationship breakdown with his fiancé and his visa expiring he sought help from the Salvation Army in Ilford.

Cedric Lungiambude, programme coordinator at Redbridge Cold Weather Centre paid tribute to Mr Ahmed and said he was a "hardworking individual who wanted to get out of his situation".

"He was really young it - was an unexpected death," he said.

"There are no words to express.

"Out of all the people you expect to see again was him - it's devastating."

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Mr Lungiambude said "things became tough" for his client when he was picked up by immigration officials in 2016.

He had no right to work in the UK and was trying his best to find a permanent job and accommodation.

"He was very polite and even though he came to the night shelter he would do paint jobs in the day," he added.

"He was easy to get along with, wasn't a heavy drinker and always came back on time - he was very respectful.

"He wanted to get out of his situation, find a room and sort everything out.

"He was born in Pakistan and came to the UK looking for a better life - unfortunately it never worked out."

The Welcome Centre, St Marys Road, provides support for vulnerable adults and rough sleepers.

Ursula Standen, Welcome Project co-ordinator. also paid tribute to Mr Ahmed and said he was a very pleasant young man who got on with everyone.

"We are saddened to hear about the sudden death of Sharjeel," she said.

"Sharjeel registered with us at the beginning of the year for practical support.

"Since then he has been very active in trying to sort out his homelessness situation."

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