Warning: Some people may find the content and details of this article distressing
Tributes have been paid to “a social worker to the stars” who fell to his death in Torquay last month.
Perdes Simplay was from Birmingham, but working as a social worker for Devon Council at the time of his death.
Police report that they were called out to an incident at 9:35pm on the evening of Sunday the 17th March, due to concerns about the welfare of Perdes who was on the roof of a three-storey block of holiday flats in the centre of Torquay.
80 minutes after the emergency services arrived, Perdes fell to the ground from a drainpipe on the side of the building.
Efforts were made to resuscitate him but he died at the scene.
The block of flats Perdes fell from were just a five minute walk from his place of work.
Pat O’Hara, an eye-witness at the scene, told local press of what she saw the night Perdes passed away:
“I saw the whole thing from my window. I could see flashing lights and I went to see what was going on.
“There was a policewoman and a couple of ambulances at first. I had a clear view but I didn’t know what was going on at first but then I saw the lady copper was looking up at the roof.
“The next moment I saw this leg hanging over from the flat rooftop.
“They were trying to talk him down and that went on for about half an hour. He was completely bare-chested – just had a pair of jeans on.
“And then another ambulance turned up with another police car and I could see them all debating how to get him down.
“And then at one point he started making his way down that pipe. The policewoman was panicking and shouting up to him to be careful. He was about half way down but he managed to scramble back up again and he hauled himself right back up on to the top again.
“Then the fire brigade people turned up and they were again debating the best way to get him down.
“What happened then was he decided to come down the pipe again. He came down further and he got his foot on the green shelf bit.
“While that was going on they came with these enormous ladders. They put them quite near the pipe but not right underneath it and one of the firemen started climbing up. As he got nearer the man started backing away so the fireman stopped because he didn’t want to panic him.
“Then they tried to get the ladder a fraction closer underneath him and he went back up again.
“What happened then was he started going from one side to the other of the pipe – he did that a few times.
“Then he came back to the right hand side and after a couple of minutes he just sort of let go.
“My jaw just dropped to the ground. It was horrible to watch.
“Everybody looked so stunned and they all rushed over and they were trying to resuscitate him for a long time.
“I went to bed at about 11.30pm and my neighbour said they were trying to resuscitate him until about midnight.
“I didn’t sleep all night from the shock of seeing it.
“It’s awful for the emergency services because they were just helpless – there was another fireman up on the top but they couldn’t get to him when he went down the pipe.”
As well as being a popular and well-liked social worker, Perdes was a beloved figure in his hometown Birmingham, where he helped organise a popular Asian LGBTQ event.
A spokesperson from the Nightingale Club in Birmingham’s Gay Village, where Perdes launched the area’s first ever Asian gay night, said:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the untimely death of our friend and colleague, Perdes Simplay. We’ve worked very closely with Perdes and the team from Saathi Night during their tenure at the Nightingale Club for a number of years. We send our deepest sympathies and condolences to his friends, family and all involved with Saathi. Rest in peace.”
Messages of sadness have also been left by his colleagues in Torquay:
“Perdes, You lit up the room with your beautiful smile and your fantastic personality. You made our days with your little jokes”
“We all love you and never forget the way you could make us all laugh and your warm caring nature. Forever in my thoughts, love Laura”
“Perdes (social worker to the stars!) There was never a dull day with you – you constantly filled all of our lives with laughter and joy. You are and always will be deeply missed – shine bright! Love Amy.”