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Joe Bisgin, who died near Sainsbury's in Maidstone, had battled mental health issues

By Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas

A father-of-four found dead near a town centre supermarket had begged for help to battle his mental health problems, his devastated partner revealed.

Yusuf Bisgin, known as Joe, was discovered on Friday afternoon near a footpath along the River Len underneath Wat Tyler Way in Maidstone.

The 30-year-old roofer was pronounced dead at the scene near Sainsbury’s at Romney Place. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Natalie Watson and Joe Bisgin with their son Joe
Natalie Watson and Joe Bisgin with their son Joe

Natalie Watson, his heartbroken girlfriend, vowed to remember the happy, loving dad and cheeky chap she fell in love with.

She said: “My Joe was happiest when he was with the children. He was a character and loved going out and being with friends.”

In December Mr Bisgin was diagnosed with a severe personality disorder and psychosis and given tablets.

But Miss Watson, who lived with him in Maidstone, said despite her best efforts nothing progressed until assessment appointments were eventually offered last month.

The walkway under Wat Tyler Way. Picture: Martin Apps
The walkway under Wat Tyler Way. Picture: Martin Apps

Tragically one of these was scheduled for Friday, November 6 – the day his body was found hanging from railings.

Just over a month ago Mr Bisgin had to be detained in a police station overnight after injuring himself. On other occasions he rang emergency services begging to be sectioned.

Miss Watson added: “It was all a cry for help. He needed to be told what to do to get better, but instead he got sent all sorts of forms asking him to assess how he felt.

“He was frightened. We both tried contacting people begging for help, but nobody did anything. On one occasion someone laughed at me down the phone.

A body was found near Sainsbury's at Romney Place in Maidstone
A body was found near Sainsbury's at Romney Place in Maidstone

“I read up on his conditions and tried my best to do the right things.

“On Friday I didn’t get the usual text asking how the kids were. I just knew something bad had happened.”

She spoke out to prevent others suffering in similar ways and praised Mr Bisgin’s attempts to live a normal life by never missing a day of work.

They became a couple five years ago, after meeting in the Paper Makers Arms pub in Upper Stone Street, Maidstone.

Mr Bisgin grew up in Tovil and knew Miss Watson through friends.

Joe Bisgin
Joe Bisgin

The couple have children Joe, now three, and two-year-old daughter Macie. Mr Bisgin also raised Miss Watson’s daughter Grace, seven, as his own and also has an older son with a former partner.

Miss Watson added: “He was funny and kind hearted. At my daughter’s school, Archbishop Courtenay, he spent all day in the rain digging out their pond after no one else turned up.”

Speaking about last Friday, she said: “I think what happened was another cry for help that went too far.”

A Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust spokesman extended sympathy to Mr Bisgin’s family, but could not comment on his situation and said waiting times vary case by case.

An inquest into Mr Bisgin's death opened and adjourned today, with coroner Patricia Harding hearing he had struggled with drug abuse and mental health issues since a car crash in 2008 in which his friend died.

Pathologist Dr David Rouse gave a cause of death of suspension.

A provisional date of Tuesday, January 26, was given for a full inquest.

If you would like confidential support on an emotional issue, call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time.


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