Friends and family describe Kunil Nur as a pillar of the community – and want to know why his cries for help were ‘ignored’
To Kunil Nur, the UK was supposed to be a safe haven from war and bloodshed in his home country of Somalia.
But, 15 years later, his heartbroken family believe he was let down by those who were supposed to protect him.
They are demanding answers over the events that led to the death of a beloved son, father and friend following a disturbance on a Wigan housing estate.
Kunil passed away in Royal Bolton Hospital six days after he was injured in the incident outside his home in Linney Square, Scholes, just after midnight on October 4.
The 44-year-old’s family believe he made a number of reports regarding allegations of racial abuse and harassment in the months prior to his death.
Kunil, who moved to the UK about 15 years ago after fleeing war-torn Somalia, was a volunteer at the SWAP Project – an organisation which helps refugees and asylum seekers settle in Wigan.
His family say he had ‘no previous history with the police’, but the alleged racist abuse he received prior to his death was so severe that he often slept at a friend’s house.
They say he had also applied to be moved to another property – something Wigan Council has denied.
GMP were called to reports of the disturbance in Linney Square just after midnight on October 4.
Kunil’s family say they have received ‘conflicting information’ from police about what happened, but believe he was involved in an incident with some people living nearby.
GMP has since confirmed incidents were reported by Kunil on June 25, September 28 and October 2 – just last one two days before the incident which led to his death.
The first was a report of a group of children shouting racial abuse in the street – which was recorded as a crime.
The second and third reports were incidents of alleged racial abuse.
On October 4, GMP say they were called to a report of ‘Mr Nur breaking into a property’.
A full investigation into these circumstances and the sequence of events on the night is ongoing.
Kunil’s family claims that when officers arrived on October 4, ‘he was trying to clot the bleeding from a wound to his head’.
He was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage, but a GMP spokesperson said he was not taken into custody as he required hospital treatment.
Kunil’s family say they later learned that he was in a mental health facility ‘despite his clear physical injury and having no history of mental health issues’.
In a statement, they added: “Weeks after his death, the facts of Kunil’s death are still unclear.
“As a family, we demand a thorough and independent investigation into the events leading up to the death of our beloved son, brother, and father.
“We are concerned that such an investigation is not yet underway even though a number of weeks have elapsed since his death.
They added: “We also understand that no other arrests were made on the night even though Kunil was seriously injured at the scene of the incident.
“It is important to us that other families do not have to go through what we have suffered.”
Following Kunil’s death, two men and a woman were arrested on suspicion of murder.
They were later bailed pending further enquiries.
Friends of Kunil said they had been left ‘stunned’ by his sudden death.
Mick Taylor, manager at SWAP, paid tribute to Kunil who he described as ‘larger than life’.
He said: “I started here about six-and-a-half years ago and he was the first person I got to know.
“Kunil had a lot of friends, but SWAP was his family. He was really appreciative of the warm welcome he received when he moved to Wigan.”
Mr Taylor said Kunil would help fellow refugees set up bank accounts and advise them on how to budget and where to shop in Wigan.
As he was able to speak five languages, he would often help with interpretation.
In 2015, Kunil appeared on BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Listening Project’, where he discussed his life and hopes for the future.
Mr Taylor added: “We used to go out into schools and Kunil would come and chat about his life experiences and raise awareness of asylum seeker and refugee issues. The kids loved him.
“He was a man of the world and very much into current affairs and global politics. He was mad keen on cooking and would always help out in the kitchen.
“We once entered a football team into a national tournament for homeless people. He fancied being manager and asked for a clipboard. He thought he was Alex Ferguson.
“He organised the team and coached them. We went and won, I couldn’t believe it.”
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Residents living near to the scene of the disturbance reported hearing ‘screaming and shouting’ coming from a flat in Linney Square.
Another resident said Kunil lived in the area but ‘kept himself to himself’.
Superintendent Mark Kenny, of GMP’s Wigan District, said: “Kunil’s tragic death remains the subject of an ongoing murder inquiry and our thoughts are with his family who are being supported by our specialist officers at this utterly devastating time.
“Three suspects have already been arrested and questioned in relation to his death, and we will continue to do all we can to uncover the circumstance of how Kunil lost his life.
“We are continuing to also appeal to the public for any information that could be crucial in this investigation.
“Also forming part of our investigation is the previous contact Kunil had with police and Wigan council; the three reports he made to GMP in 2021 are being reviewed as part of the investigation.
“We promise to thoroughly look at all aspects of this case in careful detail to ensure Kunil’s family are given the answers they crave and rightly deserve.”
A spokesperson for Wigan Council added: “We would like to take this opportunity to offer sincere condolences to Kunil Nur’s family for the sudden loss of their loved one.
“This tragic case is subject to an open investigation by Greater Manchester Police and council officers are assisting as part of this process.
“Wigan Council prioritises any hate related abuse in all forms and all reported incidents are escalated to relevant agencies.
“As with all cases of this nature, a review will take place in the forthcoming weeks under the governance of the Adult Safeguarding Board.”
Manchester Evening News