Letter gives tragic insight into challenges faced by young autistic man who committed suicide in Milton Keynes

Ayman with family
Ayman with family

Further tragic details have come to light about the "preventable" suicide of autistic Milton Keynes man Aymam Habayeb, who lay dead in his flat for nine months before the authorities noticed.

Aymnan, 28, had been under supported living care with Milton Keynes social services, but had been deemed by social workers to be no longer in need of help.

Ayman with his mum

Ayman with his mum

But he was thrown into panic when the Department for Work and Pensions summoned him to a capability for work interview - and then slashed his benefits when he was too terrified to attend, say his parents Anabela and Fuad.

They had been estranged from Ayman after he told social workers during an assessment that he did not wish to have contact with them.

Doubting he had the capacity to make this decision, Anabela and Fuad battled the authorities in vain for six years to see him.

Only now, after his funeral, have they gone through paperwork from their son's Ashland flat and found the plight he was in.

Ayman

Ayman

Today they found a copy of a letter written by Ayman's former partner in 2017, before the relationship ended.

The letter was handed to the DWP Aylesbury office in March 2017 and refers to Ayman as Roy, the name he had adopted.

It clearly warns he would attempt suicide if forced to work.

The Citizen has decided to print the letter in full because of the insight it gives into the daily that faced by people on the autistic spectrum.

Ayman

Ayman

"Since he has no contact with his family, I am, as his partner, the person who knows Roy best, and can best provide an accurate picture of the difficulties he experiences in day to day living. Roy does not always have insight into his own conditions, and is not always able to when he has. He is extremely distressed by the assessment process, which exacerbates his conditions and is causing him significant mental health risks, including suicidal thoughts at the prospect of being found fit for work.

Roy frequently displays behaviour disturbing to others, including aggressive behaviour. He becomes violent towards himself (for example, punching himself repeatedly in the head) and destroys or damages property. These episodes can be brought about by what would normally be considered very slight cause – such as his making a small mistake or some unexpected loud noise in the environment.

He does not understand what it is and is not appropriate to say, and can cause distress by, for example, talking loudly about inappropriate subjects (sexual matters) or by making extremely distasteful jokes (such as joking to a recently bereaved person about the death of their loved one.) He does not understand why his remarks are distressing to others or why they react negatively. Social norms of any kind are difficult for him to understand or to learn, so he is endangered by unknowingly violating them.
Roy is distressed by leaving his flat, and cannot go out without difficulty. This difficulty is lessened if he is accompanied by someone he trusts, and if crowded places are avoided. However, even if these conditions are met, he still cannot leave his flat more than two or three times a week, at the very most, without becoming overwhelmed. During a typical day, he does not leave his flat at all.

Although Roy is articulate when calm, he becomes unable to communicate when stressed – his ability to put even simple thoughts into words or to answer questions is lost. In this state, he cannot communicate dangers or express his needs.
Roy has frequent episodes of depression in addition to his autism, has previously attempted suicide, and has been hospitalised (sectioned) in the past. The prospect of being forced to work or prepare for work has caused him to have thoughts of suicide. I believe that the stress of attending a regular job, or even preparatory work-related activities, would be extremely likely to distress him to such an extent, and to cause his mental health to deteriorate, such that he would again be at risk of attempting suicide.
Roy is therefore not only an unsuitable person for any work environment, but would be severely endangered by any finding that he were suitable for work or work-related preparatory activities. Any such finding would immediately place him at risk of suicide."

Ayman with his mum

Ayman with his mum

Mum Anabela said: "It is just such a deeply sad situation. I believe my son's death could have been prevented. If we had been allowed to see him this would never have happened."

A DWP spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with Mr Habayeb’s family and friends at this difficult time.

“We are committed to ensuring that people with health conditions get the support they need. Suicide is a very complex issue and while the inquest examines this tragic case, it wouldn’t be right to draw conclusions.”

Ayman with his mum

Ayman with his mum