Jimmy Thoronka, who vanished after Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games last summer, has been found homeless on the streets of London.
The 20-year-old was regarded as Sierra Leone’s top sprinter, while he was also their number one 100m runner too. Before his disappearance he was touted for an impressive athletic career.
However, when he didn’t return to Sierra Leone back in August, alongside several other athletes from the region, there were huge worries about his safety.
After Thornoka was discovered on the streets of London, he then spoke at length to the Guardian about how he ended up in this situation. Thornoka explained the dramatic circumstances that resulted in him remaining in London rather than returning to his native land.
After running at the Commonwealth Games, where he failed to win any medals at the event, Thornoka revealed that he planned to visit London for a while. However when he was in Glasgow he was the victim of a robbery that would severely alter his plans.
“I wanted to go to London for a while after the Games but my bag with my money and passport in it was stolen at Glasgow station,” he explained. “I was scared to go to the police in case they arrested me and put me in a cell so I begged someone at the station to pay my fare to London and they agreed to do that.”
Thoronka explained that while he was in Glasgow he learned that his uncle had died from Ebola, which had spread throughout the country and has so far killed over 3,500 people.
The sprinter arrived in Leicester, where he spent some time with an acquaintance. But while there he learned, after watching African TV, that his own mother, Jelikatu Kargbo, who worked as a nurse in the police service, had also died of the disease.
In fact over the next few days he learned that his entire immediate family had been killed by Ebola. When he asked to leave the house of the acquaintance, Thoronka traveled down to London and started to live as a homeless man.
After Thoronka’s story started to go viral, he was then arrested on Friday evening because he had overstayed his visa. A police spokesman has confirmed that he will be “processed by immigration” on Saturday. A gofundme page has since been set up to try and assist Thoronka and raise money for his plight.
[Image via HuffPost]