Residents saddened by the sudden death of a 32-year-old man found wrapped in a blanket on top of a roof have spoken of their shock.
Gerard Colgan had been reported missing on Friday, October 7, prompting a huge police search and desperate pleas for information from his brother and sister. Today, West Yorkshire Police confirmed that a body, mysteriously found on top of a roof in Harehills Avenue, Chapeltown, Leeds, was believed to be his.
The strange discovery was made on Sunday, October 9, when shocked neighbours saw a man wrapped in a yellow blanket on the roof of the building, a large house converted into flats. They called the police who then raced to the scene at around 2.40pm.
Shopkeeper at Harry’s Tobacco and Sweet Shop in Pasture Road, which is a few metres behind Gerard’s house, said: “I was working in our other shop at the other end of the area at the time, and someone came in with missing person posters.
“There was quite a few walking around with flyers. I didn’t know him but we’ve all heard about it. It’s really sad that because yesterday morning (Sunday) they were still out looking for him and had hope.”
Other neighbours said Gerard “kept himself to himself”, spending his time in his flat or working in Rothwell. He had links to Hyde Park, Woodhouse, and the city centre. They helped with the search, with one resident saying at the time that everyone was “really worried” for the young man.
It is understood Gerard lived with another man in his house opposite Chapetown Community Church and Potternewton Park. A man, who only wanted to be known as Ben and who lives in one of the flats in the same building, said the landlord had asked Gerard to move out on October 5.
The hospital worker said: “I’ve lived here for 17 years and never seen anything like this. The police came and told me I was not in trouble and to wait inside. What I can’t get my head around is the whole time he was missing, the other guy was still at home in the flat. And he was also there when he was found on the roof.
“I saw all the police outside and thought what is going on, but what can I do? There’s nothing I can do. I can’t move, I’ve lived here for years. I didn’t know him. I’m always at work so would see both him and his flat mate in passing but they would stay in their flat.”
A woman, who lives a few doors down from the home and did not want to be named, added: “I saw all the emergency services rushing down the street yesterday. I didn’t know what to think about it. I didn’t know him personally but I saw what had happened.”
Police have said there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding Gerard’s death. Formal identification is due to take place soon and the coroner’s office has been informed.
Meanwhile, tributes have been flooding in on social media. Sally said: “Deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”
Andy Bansal said: “He was such a beautiful soul. The world has lost such a kind human. Rest in peace buddy. My thoughts are with your family and friends.”
Ottis Bent added: “Poor guy, I was wondering yesterday why the street was taped off near Potternewton Park. Thoughts are with him and his family.”
Dianne Di Glover said: “So sad. Sincere condolences to his family and all who knew him, R.I.P. young man.”