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Published: 25 September 2008

Dr Timothy Hogbin
Tragic end for man who ‘had a knack of making sad and bad things better’

Past pupils and colleagues pay tribute to popular ‘dude’ found dead in bin shed

A POPULAR university researcher, who was a fundraiser for homeless charities and animals, died in a Somers Town estate from a drug and alcohol overdose, an inquest heard.
Dr Timothy Hogbin, 43, who had a PhD in film and worked at the London School of Economics (LSE) in Holborn, was found dead behind the bins of Levita House in Chalton Street in March by paramedics.
A coroner made an open ruling into Dr Hogbin’s death last week and said he was unable to determine what happened to him in the hours leading up to death after a key witness – the last person to see him alive – went missing.
Friend Lizzy Attree this week described Mr Hogbin’s death as a “tragic waste of a life” while Jay Hicks – who set up an online tribute page to him with 120 members – called him “one of the most vivacious and caring people that any of us ever met”.
Friends from his time at university in Manchester and his LSE colleagues used the Facebook site to laugh at his risque sense of humour and fondly remember his love of animals and his encyclopedic knowledge of music.
Gemma Lloyd recalled how “Timmie had a great knack of making sad and bad things seem better,” while Toby Hadoke, remembering an evening when he bumped into Mr Hogbin after a break up, said: “He ended up getting me very drunk, shaving my head, and drawing on my face – which was precisely what I needed.”
Sarah Hayton, a former student, recalled his colourful lecture on the surfer film Point Break. She added: “Sorry he’s gone, he was a dude. And a young dude at that.”
Last week an inquest heard how Dr Hogbin, who lived with his long-term girlfriend and beloved cats in Princess May Road, Stoke Newington, had been treated for depression on and off for several years and was receiving regular counselling sessions at the Tavistock Centre in Swiss Cottage and was prescribed anti-depressants.
However, describing suicide as unlikely, a coroner made an open ruling and said Dr Hogbin “had been low for several years... but had no consistent wish to be dead”.
PC Deborah Wilton – the only witness other than a coroner’s officer – told the court Mr Hogbin was found with his head resting on a bag containing magazines and a “small silver object similar to a nail file” lying nearby. He had a blonde mohican hairstyle, a tattoo and the words “dengue fever” written on his hand, she added.
Although the writing was treated as a mystery at the hearing – a post-mortem confirmed Dr Hogbin wasn’t suffering from any infections – friends have revealed Dengue Fever was the name of a band he liked.
The court also heard how a key witness to his final hours – a blonde woman in her 30s who called the emergency services but refused to give her telephone number – fled as soon as paramedics arrived, making it almost impossible to investigate the circumstances surrounding his death.
Dr Reid said: “The person who called LAS [the ambulance service] has not made herself known to police and has not been traced. We do not know if she was with him or if she found him.”
He also ruled there was no evidence Dr Hogbin was an “habitual” drug user and said “it would not be correct to conclude he died as an abuse of drugs”.
He added: “It is possible he was naïve, but misadventure would be speculative. I am therefore forced to reach an open conclusion.”

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