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Shuttleworth death: Man found dead at Hackney hostel was troubled gaming boss

PUBLISHED: 16:33 31 October 2016 | UPDATED: 10:38 13 December 2016

Gaming company boss Joseph Coughlin, 44, died of natural causes at the Shuttleworth hostel in Hackney

Gaming company boss Joseph Coughlin, 44, died of natural causes at the Shuttleworth hostel in Hackney

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A gaming company director found dead in a Well Street homeless hostel died of natural causes, a coroner has found.

The Shuttleworth hostel in Hackney The Shuttleworth hostel in Hackney

Family and friends paid tribute to “a well-loved, much missed” man after the hearing.

Product developer Joseph Coughlin, 44, had fallen on hard times and was living at the Shuttleworth hostel when he was discovered dead on June 15.

His body was found upright on his bed two days after he last signed the hostel register, an inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court heard on Wednesday last week.

The alarm was raised when neighbours noticed a bad smell.

Assistant coroner Dr William Dolman heard Mr Coughlin had struggled with depression and anxiety for “two unhappy years” due to financial worries – but concluded his sudden death had been natural.

A family friend told the Gazette: “Joe didn’t want his family and friends involved but he certainly wasn’t forgotten. He was very well loved and a lot of people have a lot of affection for him and he’s got a lot of people who still miss him.”

He co-founded the London Gaming Company in 2014 after 15 years working in the online gambling industry, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Reports from his family doctor and consultant psychiatrist revealed Mr Coughlin sought help for anxiety and severe depression after his financial situation deteriorated.

He was placed in the Shuttleworth by Tower Hamlets Council after being released from psychiatric hospital in January 2016 with “no income at all as his business was failing”, the court heard.

A statement from Mr Coughlin’s psychiatrist, Dr Nick Bass, said he had difficulty getting a priority rating for temporary housing despite his mental health.

Dr Bass said: “A significant oversight had been made by the housing department during their own independent assessment of this matter but they admitted this in writing.”

This was cleared up the week before Mr Coughlin died and he was given a priority housing rating.

Dr Bass said during his last months of treatment Mr Coughlin had become “increasingly convinced his problems were due to his intolerable housing”.

Delivering his findings even though no physical cause of death could be ascertained, Dr Dolman said: “I hope family and friends remember the happier times. He seems to have been a very isolated person who kept himself to himself and didn’t want his family involved.”

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council said after the hearing: “The council is deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident and we express our condolences to Mr Coughlin’s family and friends.

“Mr Coughlin came to the Housing Options Service for emergency bed and breakfast accommodation in January after he was assessed by the consultant psychiatrist as being ready to be discharged from Mile End Hospital.

“At that time, the council was informed that Mr Coughlin was of sound mind and was happy to continue taking his medication.

“The council followed all of the required procedures to assess the housing and health requirements of Mr Coughlin.

“Under a review of his circumstances in June, the council accepted a duty to treat him as a vulnerable resident.”

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