‘Loving’ man who was found dead in river ‘struggled to adapt to life in UK’

A “loving, easygoing and encouraging” man was found dead by a Lynn river last year after struggling to adapt to life in the UK, an inquest has heard.

Norfolk Coroner’s Court was told on Wednesday that the main cause of 35-year-old Tolulope Oladosu’s death was a self-inflicted stab wound to the abdomen.

The inquest heard that Mr Oladosu was reported missing on the morning of August 2, 2022 and was found dead on the banks of Gaywood River in Lynn two days later, near to where he was living at the time on Gayton Road.

Tolulope Oladosu's cause of death was ruled as a self-inflicted stab wound. Picture: Norfolk Police
Tolulope Oladosu’s cause of death was ruled as a self-inflicted stab wound. Picture: Norfolk Police

A police investigation was carried out into circumstances surrounding Mr Oladosu’s death, the findings of which were read out by assistant coroner Samantha Goward.

Mr Oladosu moved to the UK from Nigeria in March 2022 along with his wife and children.

He previously worked as a microbiology lecturer and had a PHD, but was struggling to adapt to life in the UK away from his family.

The couple decided to relocate so that his wife could work as a nurse at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. They struggled to find accommodation, which resulted in them moving into a house share with their two young children.

The family shared a single and double bedroom and the parents took it in turns in sleeping in the double bedroom with their children.

On the evening of August 1, Mr Oladosu’s wife, Tunmise Oladosu, said in a statement that her husband had become “increasingly worried” after expressing concerns that his mobile phone had been hacked.

She reassured her husband that there was nothing to worry about and the couple went to bed.

On the same evening, Mrs Oladosu decided to check that her husband was sleeping in the single bedroom, and she reported seeing him sat on the edge of the bed fully clothed with “his head in his hands”.

The court heard that he told her he felt worried, so he went on a walk to clear his head, but got locked out in the process and was let in by a neighbour.

Mrs Oladosu said her husband told her: “It doesn’t matter, I’m already dead.”

“I didn’t know that would be our last conversation, I wish my presence of being there would have stopped him,” said Mrs Oladosu.

Police found CCTV footage from the property which showed Mr Oladosu heading into the kitchen at around 11.07pm towards where knives were kept.

The area was dark, but officers reviewing the footage reported seeing Mr Oladosu making movements with a knife towards his stomach area.

The police report continued: “He hit the inside of the door with his body and slumped into the fridge.”

At 11.14pm, he was seen on CCTV stepping out of the door carrying a knife covered in blood, with an injury to his abdomen, and holding the knife to himself again.

He entered the kitchen again and was seen mopping up blood, before stepping outside the house again and placing the knife between some shrubs.

Further CCTV footage then sees a man, identified as Mr Oladosu, walking along River Lane at around 12.04am.

Between the dates of August 2 and August 4, police carried out investigations into Mr Oladosu’s whereabouts, and issued a media appeal in the hope of finding him.

Officers spoke to his wife and the pastor at a nearby church they regularly attended. The pastor said that Mr Oladosu was “heavily involved with his family and was loving and attentive to his wife”.

On August 4 at 2.30pm, police spotted a man matching Mr Oladosu’s description in Gaywood river.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and was identified as Mr Oladosu after his bank card was found in his possession.

The court heard that Mr Oladosu had been looking for work since his arrival in the UK and worked in a nearby factory for a period of time as well as taking up shifts as a healthcare support worker. He was due to start another job on August 8.

Mrs Oladosu said in her statement that her husband would regularly look after their children while she worked and that he often felt lonely.

Her statement read: “I tried my best to make Tolu happy living in the UK. I encouraged him to join a men’s programme at the church, I wanted him to be happy.”

“He got laid off from his job and was so upset, he said he was doing his best.”

Mrs Oladosu’s statement concluded: “What happened has been very traumatising for me and I’m lucky I have the support from my family.”

Another statement was read out from Mr Oladosu’s older brother Olutayo Oladosu, who confirmed that his brother had a good health record and he did not drink alcohol or take drugs.

“It’s very sad that I’ll never see what he will go on to do with his life,” the statement added.

It explained that the brothers would call regularly and would share ongoing concerns about housing and jobs.

His brother also told of how Mr Oladosu was looking for lecturing jobs in the UK.

The last time they spoke on the phone was on July 27, where Olutayo Oladosu said that everything seemed “normal”.

The church pastor last saw the family on July 31, and reported that “everything was okay” with Mr Oladosu.

A post-mortem report was carried out by Dr Hesham El-Daly, who identified the main cause of death as a stab wound to the abdomen.

He also reported that a small amount of cocaine was present in Mr Oladosu’s system.

In his report to the coroner, Dr El-Daly said that taking cocaine can increase risk-taking behaviour, as well as causing a low mood and increasing anxiety.

Dr Hesham El-Daly also ruled out drowning as a cause of Mr Oladosu’s death.

Ms Goward gave a narrative conclusion that Mr Oladosu died due to a self-inflicted knife wound.

She ruled out giving a conclusion of suicide as Mr Oladosu had not shown any intention of doing so.

For confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.

If you want to talk to someone confidentially, click here.