THE family of a man believed to have killed himself on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland have said they have had to turn to crowdfunding to bring him back to Albania.

Leonard Farruku, 27, was found unresponsive on board the barge commissioned by the Home Office to accommodate up to 500 asylum seekers.

His sister, Jola Dushku, said: “It was a tragedy we lost a brother in such circumstances but we are now facing a double tragedy with not being able to have his body back home to have his funeral ceremony.

Dushku said she believed that if her brother had not been on the barge (below) then he would still be alive today.

The National: Tug boat Mercia pulls the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge into Portland in Dorset

“If my brother wasn’t put in that boat he was going to have a life ahead of him of normality and peace,” she said.

“Such tragedy could not have happened if he was not put there.”

During a brief inquest at the end of last year, the senior coroner, Rachael Griffin, said there were not thought to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and asked the Home Office and other authorities to provide written statements about the death within six weeks.

Several people on board the barge said Mr Farruku had seemed to be in a state of distress shortly before he died, shouting and banging on the walls of his cabin.

Following his death, more than 60 charities including Refugee Action, Refugee Council, Care4Calais and Refugees at Home demanded the immediate closure of the Bibby Stockholm in a letter sent to The Guardian.

Mr Farruku’s family said they were not aware that he had any mental issues before being placed on the barge.

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They have now set up a crowdfunding page as part of their appeal for funds which reads: “Our brother Leonard Farruku’s life ended unimaginably for all of us while in the UK … Leonard’s body has been in the Dorset morgue since his death on December 12 2023.

“We kindly ask for help to raise funds to have Leonard’s body returned from the UK back home to Albania to rest in peace.”

A spokesperson from the Home Office said: “This was a tragic accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected.

“The welfare of all those in our care is of the utmost importance and we take this responsibility very seriously.”