London: An Indian-origin student who had racked up debts with interest rates of up to 1,200 per cent hanged himself in his flat in the city of Leeds in northern England, an inquest into his death was told.
Naseeb Chuhan, who was studying human geography at Leeds Beckett University, was found dead on May 28 last year, the inquest into his death at Wakefield Coroner’s Court was told this week.
His father, Kuljit Chuhan, told the inquest that he discovered the mountain of debt only after his son’s death.
He believes his son was the victim of so-called “payday loans” or short-term high-interest loans offered by loan companies without any affordability checks.
“In my mind, what begins as something quite innocent and just as a one off and when you get to the end of that you realise you have overspent. I think it is something that slowly creeps up. I think that’s how payday loans work. I think he was tempted into it,” Kuljit Chuhan said.
According to the ‘Yorkshire Evening Post’, Naseeb started studying at Leeds Beckett University in September 2015 and completed all the work required of him up to the end of that year.
But his studies started to suffer and he did not attend an exam in January 2016 or the resit in April last year.
His inquest heard that the 21-year-old went to see a local general practitioner (GP) on May 25 last year and said he had been feeling down for several years.
Later that day, he spoke to a student well-being officer at Leeds Beckett University’s hub and an appointment was made for him to speak to a counsellor on May 27, but he did not attend and was found dead the day after.
A consultant pathologist who conducted a post-mortem on Naseeb told the inquest the cause of death was hanging.
Coroner Jonathan Leach was asked to consider writing to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority over the dangers of payday loans after he recorded a suicide verdict.
“He succumbed to these easily accessible payday loans. It seems the behaviour and conduct of the payday loan companies was such that he was able to access loans where they were not affordable.
Perhaps troubled by his mental health, he has not seen a way out and has seen a solution in suicide,” said barrister Julie-Anne Luck, appearing for the Chuhan family.
“I would invite you to ask the Financial Conduct Authority what more can be done to make sure unaffordable loans cannot be granted,” she added.
The coroner said he has taken her request under consideration.
Chuhan’s parents have also set up a website in memory of their son “as a celebration of Naseeb’s great spirit and the many parts of his life that he and we all value, enjoyed and cherish”.
“Naseeb had a beautiful mind, he was caring, thoughtful, was loved by many and gave love to many,” reads the website.
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