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1  Forum / Relationships & Romance / Exclusive From “Gay Zulu Wedding” World First Gay Traditional Wedding on: 9-04-2013 12:07PM
In KwaDukuza, South Africa. 27-year-old Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole claim to have made history being the first gay men to be married in a traditional way, rural ceremony in KwaZulu-Natal. MANDY DE WAAL speaks to the happy couple.
       In the town where one of Africa’s greatest warriors and military strategists was laid to rest, two courageous men are redefining what traditional masculinity is all about. In KwaDukuza (Stanger), where a memorial of Shaka kaSenzangakhona stands proud, Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole became the first gay men in the province to celebrate their nuptials with a traditional, rural marriage on Saturday 6 April 2013, and invited the town to come and celebrate with them.
 “This is the 21st century - society has changed and evolved. It is about time that gay rights are upheld and gay people are accepted, particularly by black people living in rural communities,” Tshepo told Daily Maverick on the phone from Durban. “We just want to lead happy and productive lives. We are gay but we are still African, and we want to live our lives in an African way following our traditions and beliefs,” he said.At their wedding, the pair was joined by family and friends in a traditional ceremony that saw the doors of the Stanger Siva Sungam community hall flung wide open to the local community, who turned up in droves to celebrate the couple's union. 
         The ceremony included the slaughtering of a bull to ensure that the nuptials would be blessed in terms of ancestral traditions, and witnessed the exchange of customary gifts.
 “We decided on a traditional wedding not only to keep in line with our customs and traditions, but we also wanted to show the people of this country that, yes - it is possible to have a traditional African gay wedding,” explains Modisane. “There is this idea that being gay is an ‘unAfrican’ phenomenon, that homosexuality is something to be ashamed of - that it is a Western thing. Thabo and I wanted to go against this notion by showing South Africans that being gay is indeed African and is very much a part of the African culture. We wanted people to know that a gay union can be accepted and celebrated by friends, family and the broader community,” he says. Modisane’s husband, Sithole, says that initially the community of KwaDukuza expected to come to the wedding and to see two men draped in wedding dresses. “People can have strange notions about what it means to be gay because for the most part prejudice is based on ignorance. But when the people from KwaDukuza arrived at our wedding they witnessed two very ordinary men in love, and they celebrated with us.” The wedding was aired on eNews and there’s a heart-warming moment that shows the pair walking into the ceremony dressed in their respective traditional garb – Modisane in his Tswana regalia and Sithole dressed in Zulu garb. As the two arrive and the crowd gets sight of them, the open skies fill with the sound of ululating and cheering.
 Modisane picks up the story: “We had over 300 people who witnessed our wedding. The response was amazing because people were so excited and looking forward to the wedding. On the day people came out in their numbers, which was so unbelievable,” he says excitedly.
 The pair say that they were overwhelmed by the affection and the joy displayed by the crowd. “It was a remarkable experience to be surrounded by so many people who were so accepting and warm and loving towards us,” says Sithole. “For us it was important to normalise gay marriages in the community - for people to come and witness, and see that there’s nothing strange or scary about what we’re doing. That we’re just two guys in love.”
Modisane and Sithole first met in Durban when they were both at university. “We were just friends then, but I had to come back to Johannesburg and we lost contact,” says Modisane. “Some time afterwards Thoba got a job in Johannesburg and started to work here on a full time basis in 2011. We started out as gym partners and the relationship grew – soon we were lovers and then knew we wanted to be each other’s partners. We got engaged in June last year - that’s when we decided we wanted to get married.”
    Today the couple live together in Johannesburg where Modisane is an IT specialist and Sithole an audit manager at PwC. “Yes, we could have got married in Johannesburg, but it was important for us to be brave enough to have our wedding in a rural area,” says Modisane, adding: “Besides, that’s where my partner was born, grew up and went to school. It is where he comes from.”
  The wedded couple will henceforth be known as Mr and Mr Sithole-Modisane.

        source http://www.ajibola-avow.blogspot.com/2013/04/exclusive-from-gay-zulu-wedding-world.html
2  Forum / The Buzz Central / Stephen Keshi Receives His Range Rover & Toyota Camry From Glo on: 8-04-2013 07:46PM
The cars were presented to the Super Eagles coach this afternoon at the Globacom office in Victoria Island. They are gifts to him from Glo Chairman, Mike Adenuga, for winning the African Cup of Nation 2013. Presenting the keys is Mr Mohammed Jameel, Group Chief Operating Officer.
3  Forum / Politics / Ex millitant kill 13 policemen feared dead in Bayelsa boat attack on: 8-04-2013 01:50AM
It was a black weekend in Bayelsa State as 13 policemen were feared dead in a boat attack along the creek of Azuazuama in the Southern Ijaw local government area of the state.

26 others were killed in separate attacks in Adamawa, Plateau and Borno States.

The Bayelsa incident, which jolted the security circle in the predominantly riverine state, Sunday Vanguard learnt occurred at about 5p.m. on Friday.

It was also the subject of discussion among security operatives on the Brass Island in Brass local government area where the Mobility Command of the Nigerian Air Force held a two-day free medical services for the people to ameliorate the impact of recent floods that ravaged the state.

Though the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had threatened attacks on the nation vast oil installations in Delta from mid night of Friday, it was, however, learnt that the Friday attack which claimed the lives of the policemen may have had nothing to do with the threat.

The deceased operatives, a security source said, they were heading to the coastal Azuzuama community in the deep mangrove swamp of Southern Ijaw council area when they came under attack. The boat in which they were traveling was reportedly sunk by their assailants, causing them to drown.

It was reliably learnt that the policemen were on their way to provide security at the wake-keep of the mother of an ex-militant leader, said to be locked in feud with his boys over their alleged abandonment.

The ex-militant leader, it was learnt, had relocated to Abuja after embracing the Federal Government amnesty leaving behind his boys.

Sensing trouble, the ex militant leader was said to have approached the police authorities in Yenagoa for police protection during the burial ceremony.

The assailants, who allegedly  got wind of the police deployment, were said to have laid ambush for the boat conveying the security operatives along the Azuzuama creek, killing thirteen of them while three reportedly escaped.

The state police public relations officer, Alex Akhigbe, DSP, could not be reached as he was not picking his calls but the state commissioner of police, Mr. Kins Omire, when contacted, said he was in a meeting and his line went off.

‘I counted 13 bodies’

In the Adamawa incident, gunmen attacked Midlu village in Madagali local government area, killing 13 and  leaving several others injured.

An eye witness said the attack took place on Friday night while the residents were still mourning after some attackers stormed the area and opened  fire on  residents, resulting in the death of 11 people on the spot.

The eye witness said the gunmen, numbering about forty, attacked the residence of the Deputy Governor of the state, Bala James Ngilari, who hails from the village.

He added that the attackers  ransacked the Deputy Governor’s house and shot two security guards there. The Friday incident, according to him, happened after the muslim ISHA’I prayer, and took the residents by surprise. The attackers, he said, shouted “ALLAH is great, ALLAH is great, “while marching round the village unchallenged. He said he counted 13 bodies after the attack. When contacted, Adamawa State Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Mohammed Ibrahim, confirmed the attack.

Attackers die

At least 11 people were killed in the Plateau attacks which occurred in Langtang South and Wase local government areas yesterday. While gunmen suspected to be herdsmen killed seven and injured several others at Karkashi in Langtang South LGA, four of the attackers in a similar incident at Zango in Wase LGA were not as lucky as they were repelled and killed by the villagers.

The gunmen were said to have struck at Karkashi at about 2.am opening fire on their victims, killing some and injuring many.

Media Officer of the Special Task Force maintaining security in the state, Captain Salisu Mustapha confirmed the Karkashi incident.

He said four suspects have been arrested over the attack and were being interrogated adding that they would be handed over to the police at the end of investigations.

Slain district head

In Borno, gunmen, suspected to be Boko Haram Islamists, in separate attacks, on Friday and yesterday,  shot dead the district head of Auno; and a policeman on patrol on the outskirts of Maiduguri.

Auno is 22 kilometres west of Maiduguri, the state capital. The gunmen, according to a resident, came in two unmarked Golf Volkswagen vehicles at 8.35pm Friday and drove straight to the district head’s palace, before firing several gunshots to scare the villagers.

The slain policeman, according to an eye witness was shot dead near Muna Motor Park, yesterday, while patrolling the 85-kilometre Maiduguri-Dikwa road.
4  Forum / Relationships & Romance / My Melons are my selling point – Nollywood Star, Chiege Alisigwe on: 7-04-2013 05:37PM
Chiege Alisigwe came into limelight after starring alongside Ramsey Nuoah in the blockbuster movie ‘My Love’ in 1998. She has since become one of the most-sought-after actresses in Nollywood. In this interview, the delectable actress talks about her NGO, which she recently set up to cater for the welfare of the less -privileged people in our society as well as her plans to establish a studio among other issues..

You recently set up an NGO. What is it all about?

What I had in mind when I set up my NGO was to use the platform to reach out to the less privileged people in our society. You know, somebody might be looking good but inwardly, he or she has a lot of problems bothering him. So, we really want to see how we can assist them in our own little way.

Have you reconciled with your husband?

I don’t know. I hate talking about my private life. But what I know is that I have a child now.

Which part of your body do you like most?
There are certain things God blessed with that make me to feel like a real woman. They are my Melons and my face. I am not saying that anybody who is flat chested is bad, the person still looks good. But if I dress, i will first admire myself before the mirror, I always thank God for making me a complete woman.

Like something you know many are paying to have, I have it naturally. And I thank God the way he made me. I am very grateful, I cannot ask for more.

Like how much can you insure these places you like most?

Money cannot be enough when it comes to those areas. I don’t pray for anything to happen to these places. I am ok the way I am.

Are you comfortable with the kind of movies that are coming out of Nollywood?

I am not comfortable at all. Though there are some good movies, the fact remains that Nollywood needs to step up its game in the area of production. Because, majority still need amendments here and there. I want the industry to produce quality movies . I want them to come out with something more challenging.

How has married life been with you?

Well, married life is good. Though there are ups and down, it is sweet at the same time, it is sour. You cannot just say it is all bed of roses but it is good. It is good because when the going is sweet, you love it the more but when the going is bad, you will still be there provided it is not life and death.

Does your marriage affect your career (Acting)?

No, it does not.

You stopped acting for a while now, what happened?

No, actually, I didn’t stop. But somehow, you do not need to act one million movies in a day. You have to advise yourself, I am the married woman that wants to combine my family with my career, and then you have to compromise. You think about your family first. No matter what you do, your family comes first.

How did you start acting?

Well, that was in 1998. When I left secondary school, I took JAMB; and I entered into the movie industry. To me then, it was a sort of whiling away time while I was still waiting for my JAMD result. Not like now you see people desperately want to act. It was not like that for me.

Was it like a passion you wanted to use to pass time?

Number one, I love acting because, I use to act drama in secondary school then. Secondly, I was waiting for my JAMB result so I want to use that to while away time. Because, I don’t like staying idle. Even as a child, I used to do one or two things. I have always been an independent person. I would say that I started acting because I hate idleness.

How many movies have you acted this year?

I don’t really know but it is not much.

You live outside the country most often?

I live here in Nigeria but most times, I travel out of the country because of the project I’m embarking on. I shuttle between Nigeria and the outside world. There are certain things I need to bring from there to this country that is why I travel most often. Like my cameras, I brought them down from there. Like the house of service I told you, I need some in Nigeria and likewise outside the country.

Like other actors and actresses who have ventured into the music industry. Are you planning to do the same?

I love singing, I have sang so many songs. But, we cannot keep acting all the time. Because if you continue like that, you can never have your time, you can never give your family that time they need. You act, you get another thing to fall back on incase if you are not there.

At the same time, you cut your shot. What I mean is this, if you are the boss of what you are doing, you can say, let me give this time to my family today and your assistance will take over. Also, tomorrow you can say let me go to work/location today. I don’t want to spend all my time in working (acting). Where I can be answerable to somebody without being answerable to my husband.

So, you have to initiate something on your own by so doing, you can tell your workers, go and do this thing and you will go and relax. You can also be doing other things that will give you time to attend to your family. That does not mean I would not act for anybody anymore. I will act for people but I can never be the same like when I started as a young girl who does not have anybody to answer to.

Does it mean you choose the roles you act now?

Yes. I choose. I see the script. If I am not satisfied with it, I will tell you that I cannot act the script. If I am satisfied with that, I will go on with the script.

Do you think you still have a chance in the industry considering the number of actresses who are eager to act?

Well, I don’t look at people’s faces. I believe that whatever you are, it is on your own. If you are good, it is for your own good. I always tell people to be confident in themselves.

If you have self-confidence and a dragon is by your side, you can even say hi to the dragon and go your way the dragon would even turn back to follow your footsteps. Just be contended with yourself, how you act,, do you thing in your own way.

Don’t mind how people do theirs. You will find out that a lot of people are out there who are following your footsteps without your knowledge. So I am not scared.

What are the challenges you are facing now?

Talking about my challenges now, I think it is what I am building up that is giving me lots of challenges. The other challenge an actor/actress can face is that professionalism in the field, knowing what you are doing. By God’s grace, we have the professionals in the industry. In fairness, I even love challenges so much.

What is your driving force in creating your own studio?

I decided to create my own studio because, I wanted something different apart from my acting. It is a kind of gradual step you have to take when you want to be there. I do not really want to have problem when I am there I will start looking for cameras or anything. I want to gather everything before I start the NGO. So that when I am out, they can finish everything without problems.

What do you intend to do with your NGO?

Ok, we want to reach to people because, so many Nigerians are hungry and I think I am happier if I am eating and the person beside me is eating as well. If am eating and the person beside me is hungry, I feel so unhappy. I derive joy in making people happy.

When do we hope to hear about the NGO well?

Not now because we are still working on it.

Tell us about your background?

I am Chiege Alisigwe from Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State. I am the last in the family of Eleven. I read fine and applied arts. I did my OND at Federal Polytechnic, Oko, before proceeding to IMT Enugu for Higher National Diploma. I did my youth service and now on the verge of doing my masters.
5  Forum / Politics / The American Supreme Court And Same Sex Marriage on: 7-04-2013 02:22AM
Today the Supreme Court of the United States of America will rule on the legality of same sex marriages. President Barak Obama has openly endorsed same sex marriages just as has the former American Sec. of State Hilary Clinton. According to a CNN poll no less than 58 per cent of the American people support same sex marriages too.
      It is clear that the world is changing and that America, under Obama, has redefined her moral and religious values dramatically. I saw this coming and that is precisely why I have never been a great fan of Barrak Obama and that, much to the chagrin of my fellow Africans and men and women of colour from all over the world, I openly opposed his re-election last year and wrote a highly celebrated essay titled ”Can Barak Obama Be Trusted” which created quite a stir and which was published in the newspapers of no less than 6 countries in the world. The truth is that Obama’a latest endorsement of and his stand on same sex marriage utterly appauls me.
      What is the world coming to? How come we suddenly find it so easy to turn our backs on the word of God which specifically defines marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman which was designed primarily for the purpose of procreation? Not only does Obama and 58 per cent of the American people believe in same sex marriage but they also believe in same sex couples adopting and raising children. Is this not a tragedy of monuemental proprtions? Has America turned it’s back on the Living God. There is not one of the three great monotheic faiths on our planet, whether it be christianity, islam or judaism, that supports same sex marriage. As a matter of fact they all specifically forbid it and describe it as an abomination.

I have nothing against gays and I believe that a person’s sexual preferences or sexuality are entirely their own business. I also accept the fact that gays should not be in any way discriminated against or subjected to hate speech. Your sexuality is a matter oif choice and no-one has the right to deny you the right to make that choice. This much I conceede and accept. However I draw the line when it comes to the issue of redefining the traditional definition of marriage and allowing gay couples to enter such a union. This is because the institution and it’s definition was established by Almighty God Himself and it is not for man to alter or amend it. Attempting to do so is tantamount to man rying to play God. It is not right, it is morally indefensible and it is a violent and unprecedented attack on the institution of marriage and our traditional family values.
      Yet America is not alone in it’s madness. Europe has gone crazy too. In France, the U.K, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and various other European countries legislation to pave the way for same sex marriage has already been introduced and in some of those countries it is already lawful. The same thing is happening in Argentina, where gays are now allowed to marry, and I gather that Brazil is treading the same path. What is the world coming to? Will we ever see gay marriages in Africa and in Nigeria? I have little doubt that South Africa, the traditional bastion of liberalism in Africa, will be the first to permit it if they havn’t done so already.
       Should we allow Nigeria to climb this slippery slope as well? I sincerely hope not. Meanwhile let us wait to see whether the American Supreme Court will do the right thing and shoot this abominable and morally repugnant concept down or whether they will affirm it. For the sake of God and humanity I sincerely hope that they choose the latter course.
6  Forum / Naijapals Base (Metro life) / Re: 31-Year-Old Unemployed Graduate With A Phd Degree Commits Suicide. on: 7-04-2013 02:01AM
An academic jumped off scaffolding to his death when he was only able to find a job in a call centre after finishing his doctorate, an inquest heard today.

Dr Philip Elliott, 31, who had recently completed a PhD in physics at Reading University, was seen on the sixth floor of an apartment block in west London just after 11am on January 27 this year.

Police tried to call him down but he fell from the property in Cromwell Street, Kensington, an hour later, the hearing was told.

Westminster Coroner’s Court heard Dr Elliott – who was also a qualified engineer and was described as a ‘high academic achiever’ – had suffered a number of career knock-backs in the weeks leading to his death.

His landlord of seven years Harry Duphnath said the most recent he knew of was in December last year.

In a statement read to the inquest Mr Duphnath said: ‘I was aware Philip had started a job with Southern Electric – I think in a call centre – which wasn’t what he aspired to.

‘He mentioned being frustrated at work and unhappy about being there and had started looking for other jobs and going for interviews.

‘The last one was the week before Christmas in 2012.

‘I saw him ironing his shirt getting ready for the interview.

‘While I was there he checked his emails and he had one which said the interview had been cancelled.

‘He was a bit low about that, but he wasn’t angry. He said that he would plod on and keep going.’

The landlord said he received a text message from Dr Elliott on January 24, three days before his death, apologising for not doing some tidying up.

It read: ‘Sorry. I’ve had a terrible time the last three weeks. Thanks for your patience. I can’t explain how stressful it’s been, but I appreciate it’s not your fault.’

Mr Duphnath said him and his wife Sonia were ‘utterly shocked’ to hear Philip had taken his life days later.

Det Con David Gadsby, of the Metropolitan Police, said a resident in the block where Dr Elliott died reported hearing footsteps on the roof at 9.30am that morning, but thought nothing of it and went back to bed.

An hour-and-a-half later a motorist driving past the building called police expressing concern a man might be preparing to jump.

Officers arrived within five minutes but were advised not to talk him down as it was too dangerous to get out onto the scaffolding.

Paramedics who were already on the scene tried to revive him but the science mad graduate was pronounced dead from multiple injuries at 12.10pm.

Westminster Coroner Darren Stewart said he could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that Dr Elliott meant to take his own life as it could have been a ‘cry for help.’

Recording a narrative verdict, he explained: ‘It is clear he was a high academic achiever in science, having achieved a PhD from the University of Reading, but he had not been able to get a job for some time.

‘He took work which was perhaps not entirely suited to his skill sets in that he was working in a call centre.

‘However, it shows Dr Elliot was committed to gaining employment and to progressing in his life.

‘What is clear from the evidence is that he received a number of blows to his confidence in terms of jobs he aspired to which were either unsuccessful or withdrawn.

‘It is clear that this had an impact on his general morale, and on the 27th of January 2013 Dr Elliott climbed up on to some scaffolding in Cromwell Road, Kensington.

‘Officers decided not to try and talk Dr Elliott down as it would have been dangerous to them and to him.

‘Sadly, shortly thereafter, Dr Elliott made a gesture with his arms and appeared to dive towards the ground striking the pavement.’

He added: ‘Police enquiries revealed no indication Dr Elliott’s actions were planned or that he had intended to take his life, nor is there any evidence to suggest Dr Elliott was subject to any mental health care.

‘Whilst perhaps disappointed and suffering from a degree of depression due to his lack of work opportunities he was otherwise a fit, intelligent young man who had achieved well at university.

‘It makes the outcome of what occurred on January 27 2013 all the sadder due to that.

‘I am not satisfied on what has been presented before me as to be certain Dr Elliott intended to take his own. It is entirely possible this could have been a cry for help.’
None of Dr Elliott’s family attended the inquest in central London, but they have since set up a remembrance page in his memory.
7  Forum / Naijapals Base (Metro life) / Re: 31-Year-Old Unemployed Graduate With A Phd Degree Commits Suicide. on: 7-04-2013 02:01AM
An academic jumped off scaffolding to his death when he was only able to find a job in a call centre after finishing his doctorate, an inquest heard today.

Dr Philip Elliott, 31, who had recently completed a PhD in physics at Reading University, was seen on the sixth floor of an apartment block in west London just after 11am on January 27 this year.

Police tried to call him down but he fell from the property in Cromwell Street, Kensington, an hour later, the hearing was told.

Westminster Coroner’s Court heard Dr Elliott – who was also a qualified engineer and was described as a ‘high academic achiever’ – had suffered a number of career knock-backs in the weeks leading to his death.

His landlord of seven years Harry Duphnath said the most recent he knew of was in December last year.

In a statement read to the inquest Mr Duphnath said: ‘I was aware Philip had started a job with Southern Electric – I think in a call centre – which wasn’t what he aspired to.

‘He mentioned being frustrated at work and unhappy about being there and had started looking for other jobs and going for interviews.

‘The last one was the week before Christmas in 2012.

‘I saw him ironing his shirt getting ready for the interview.

‘While I was there he checked his emails and he had one which said the interview had been cancelled.

‘He was a bit low about that, but he wasn’t angry. He said that he would plod on and keep going.’

The landlord said he received a text message from Dr Elliott on January 24, three days before his death, apologising for not doing some tidying up.

It read: ‘Sorry. I’ve had a terrible time the last three weeks. Thanks for your patience. I can’t explain how stressful it’s been, but I appreciate it’s not your fault.’

Mr Duphnath said him and his wife Sonia were ‘utterly shocked’ to hear Philip had taken his life days later.

Det Con David Gadsby, of the Metropolitan Police, said a resident in the block where Dr Elliott died reported hearing footsteps on the roof at 9.30am that morning, but thought nothing of it and went back to bed.

An hour-and-a-half later a motorist driving past the building called police expressing concern a man might be preparing to jump.

Officers arrived within five minutes but were advised not to talk him down as it was too dangerous to get out onto the scaffolding.

Paramedics who were already on the scene tried to revive him but the science mad graduate was pronounced dead from multiple injuries at 12.10pm.

Westminster Coroner Darren Stewart said he could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that Dr Elliott meant to take his own life as it could have been a ‘cry for help.’

Recording a narrative verdict, he explained: ‘It is clear he was a high academic achiever in science, having achieved a PhD from the University of Reading, but he had not been able to get a job for some time.

‘He took work which was perhaps not entirely suited to his skill sets in that he was working in a call centre.

‘However, it shows Dr Elliot was committed to gaining employment and to progressing in his life.

‘What is clear from the evidence is that he received a number of blows to his confidence in terms of jobs he aspired to which were either unsuccessful or withdrawn.

‘It is clear that this had an impact on his general morale, and on the 27th of January 2013 Dr Elliott climbed up on to some scaffolding in Cromwell Road, Kensington.

‘Officers decided not to try and talk Dr Elliott down as it would have been dangerous to them and to him.

‘Sadly, shortly thereafter, Dr Elliott made a gesture with his arms and appeared to dive towards the ground striking the pavement.’

He added: ‘Police enquiries revealed no indication Dr Elliott’s actions were planned or that he had intended to take his life, nor is there any evidence to suggest Dr Elliott was subject to any mental health care.

‘Whilst perhaps disappointed and suffering from a degree of depression due to his lack of work opportunities he was otherwise a fit, intelligent young man who had achieved well at university.

‘It makes the outcome of what occurred on January 27 2013 all the sadder due to that.

‘I am not satisfied on what has been presented before me as to be certain Dr Elliott intended to take his own. It is entirely possible this could have been a cry for help.’
None of Dr Elliott’s family attended the inquest in central London, but they have since set up a remembrance page in his memory.
8  Forum / Naijapals Base (Metro life) / 31-Year-Old Unemployed Graduate With A Phd Degree Commits Suicide. on: 7-04-2013 01:57AM
An academic jumped off scaffolding to his death when he was only able to find a job in a call centre after finishing his doctorate, an inquest heard today.

Dr Philip Elliott, 31, who had recently completed a PhD in physics at Reading University, was seen on the sixth floor of an apartment block in west London just after 11am on January 27 this year.

Police tried to call him down but he fell from the property in Cromwell Street, Kensington, an hour later, the hearing was told.

Westminster Coroner’s Court heard Dr Elliott – who was also a qualified engineer and was described as a ‘high academic achiever’ – had suffered a number of career knock-backs in the weeks leading to his death.

His landlord of seven years Harry Duphnath said the most recent he knew of was in December last year.

In a statement read to the inquest Mr Duphnath said: ‘I was aware Philip had started a job with Southern Electric – I think in a call centre – which wasn’t what he aspired to.

‘He mentioned being frustrated at work and unhappy about being there and had started looking for other jobs and going for interviews.

‘The last one was the week before Christmas in 2012.

‘I saw him ironing his shirt getting ready for the interview.

‘While I was there he checked his emails and he had one which said the interview had been cancelled.

‘He was a bit low about that, but he wasn’t angry. He said that he would plod on and keep going.’

The landlord said he received a text message from Dr Elliott on January 24, three days before his death, apologising for not doing some tidying up.

It read: ‘Sorry. I’ve had a terrible time the last three weeks. Thanks for your patience. I can’t explain how stressful it’s been, but I appreciate it’s not your fault.’

Mr Duphnath said him and his wife Sonia were ‘utterly shocked’ to hear Philip had taken his life days later.

Det Con David Gadsby, of the Metropolitan Police, said a resident in the block where Dr Elliott died reported hearing footsteps on the roof at 9.30am that morning, but thought nothing of it and went back to bed.

An hour-and-a-half later a motorist driving past the building called police expressing concern a man might be preparing to jump.

Officers arrived within five minutes but were advised not to talk him down as it was too dangerous to get out onto the scaffolding.

Paramedics who were already on the scene tried to revive him but the science mad graduate was pronounced dead from multiple injuries at 12.10pm.

Westminster Coroner Darren Stewart said he could not be sure beyond reasonable doubt that Dr Elliott meant to take his own life as it could have been a ‘cry for help.’

Recording a narrative verdict, he explained: ‘It is clear he was a high academic achiever in science, having achieved a PhD from the University of Reading, but he had not been able to get a job for some time.

‘He took work which was perhaps not entirely suited to his skill sets in that he was working in a call centre.

‘However, it shows Dr Elliot was committed to gaining employment and to progressing in his life.

‘What is clear from the evidence is that he received a number of blows to his confidence in terms of jobs he aspired to which were either unsuccessful or withdrawn.

‘It is clear that this had an impact on his general morale, and on the 27th of January 2013 Dr Elliott climbed up on to some scaffolding in Cromwell Road, Kensington.

‘Officers decided not to try and talk Dr Elliott down as it would have been dangerous to them and to him.

‘Sadly, shortly thereafter, Dr Elliott made a gesture with his arms and appeared to dive towards the ground striking the pavement.’

He added: ‘Police enquiries revealed no indication Dr Elliott’s actions were planned or that he had intended to take his life, nor is there any evidence to suggest Dr Elliott was subject to any mental health care.

‘Whilst perhaps disappointed and suffering from a degree of depression due to his lack of work opportunities he was otherwise a fit, intelligent young man who had achieved well at university.

‘It makes the outcome of what occurred on January 27 2013 all the sadder due to that.

‘I am not satisfied on what has been presented before me as to be certain Dr Elliott intended to take his own. It is entirely possible this could have been a cry for help.’

None of Dr Elliott’s family attended the inquest in central London, but they have since set up a remembrance page in his memory.
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