Stroke leaves ‘fit and healthy’ bouncer trapped in flat for 7 months barely able to walk


A man who says he was previously fit and health claims he is now “trapped” in his third-floor apartment after being hit with numerous strokes and health problems.

The 41-year-old, who wants to be known only by his surname Coldham, lives in a studio flat on the third floor of his building in Pimlico.

Coldham started working in security six years ago, first as a bouncer in Camden and then a security patrol officer in the Facebook building at Kings Cross from 2017. He worked 12 hour shifts until his health took a turn for the worse.

He now needs help to get dressed, wash, eat, go to the toilet and suffers from dysarthria, a form of brain damage that means speech is severely impacted.

His mother Susan Patterson, 65, lives and works in Bromley at the county council but will visit every day to make Coldham his lunch and dinner.

Susan claimed she has been fighting for her son to be moved into a more suitable home since 2016 when he was diagnosed with terminal Crohn’s disease.

In November 2021 that Coldham suffered a huge stroke which kept him in hospital until March 2022. This stroke led to severe mobility and speech issues, which has meant he has been unable to leave his flat since March of this year, he claims.

Coldham suffers from extensive medical conditions, including OS apnoea, chronic kidney disease, terminal Crohn’s and 6th nerve palsy in his right eye.

He also suffers multiple strokes, TB meningitis causing lesions around the brain stem which have caused him to become disabled, Behcet’s Neuro Syndrome, Lupus and is also prone to inflammation of the brain.

Susan told MyLondon she was “really angry” at the resistance she felt there was in moving her son to an apartment on a lower level.

One of Susan’s main concerns is what would happen if a fire broke out in Coldham’s building. Due to his mobility issues he would not be able to make it out of his bed or his chair and his dysarthria means he could not call for help.

“At the end of the day, at least move him downstairs to a lower level where he feels more in touch with his community because I don’t know what more I can do.”

Susan spoke on behalf of Coldham during the interview, and often Coldham would begin to cry as she retold his story and the impact it is having on his mental health.

Being locked in the property means he is unable to get the physiotherapy he needs to help get his strength back and the doctors will only come and visit him in an emergency so appointments are regularly missed.

Susan said: “He’s regressing, and he’s regressed a lot since he’s been here.” She added his friends rarely visit because they find it ‘too upsetting’. She remarks that it’s Coldham who is locked in, not them.

Susan’s other son Aaron visits on the weekend with his partner and children. Coldham’s sister lives further away so visiting regularly is hard.

The family has had their share of challenges. Susan is a survivor of domestic abuse and left in the middle of the night with her children to keep them safe. All four of them took up martial arts to learn to protect themselves.

One of Coldham’s biggest heartbreaks since becoming ill is the loss of his job. When he suffered the first stroke his security firm moved him from doorman to desk work. Up until November last year, he had been working 12 hour shifts.

Coldham eventually had been dismissed on medical grounds, with his employer having said they hoped he would make a recovery to return to work.

“This isn’t a guy who is sitting here wanting to live off benefits,” Susan said. “He’s a fighter and he just wants to get better. When you think about what’s happened, you wake up one morning and you can’t do anything anymore.

To get Coldham out of his flat, Susan said she would have to call the fire brigade or the ambulance service: “We can’t physically get him up and down the stairs, we’d need special equipment and specialist people and they seem to be missing the point.

She continued: “His goal was to get back here, do the rehabilitation to get back on his feet, get back to work and get back to the community, be with family and friends.

“He is a prisoner in his own home, with a prisoner at least they get out for exercise each day, there’s no yard to get Coldham out in to.”

A spokesperson for Sanctuary told MyLondon: “We are actively liaising with Mr Coldham and are aware of his situation, offering support and advice about the options available to help him find a new home.

“While we do not have any suitable properties we can offer Mr Coldham at the present time – there is a general shortage of vacant ground floor flats in the area – we will continue to work with the local authority to identify any alternative properties that can meet his needs.”

Westminster Council has been approached for comment.