Benefits Street star Lee Nutley has been found dead on the Stockton estate where the Channel 4 reality show was filmed.
His body was found by an ambulance crew on the Tilery estate in the Teeside town yesterday afternoon – just 18 months after the controversial show was aired on TV. He was in his 40s.
A Cleveland Police spokesperson explained in a statement: “Police were called to an address on Kingston Road, Stockton, by ambulance service colleagues at around 5.40pm last night.
“A man in his 40s was sadly pronounced deceased at the scene and there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances. A file will therefore be prepared for the Coroner.”
Lee was one of six Tilery residents who were followed by a camera crew for the second series of the divisive reality show, which prompted hundreds of Ofcom complaints and even death threats against some of the people featured.
The programme documented Lee’s ongoing battle with his health. He’d been on and off antidepressants for six years and was a recovering heroin addict. After losing his job at a construction company, he was forced to live on £45 a week and rely on food banks.
Lee had previously told a local paper that appearing on the show changed his life: “I went to Stockton earlier and people were stopping me in the street. Mainly people I know shouting ‘Lee, you’re famous now mate’ and stuff like that.
“But this is not why I went on the show. I don’t plan to become some big celebrity and earn loads of money.
“As far as I’m concerned you don’t need money to be happy, and us lot being filmed here will prove it.”
Tributes have poured in to Lee on Social Media. Friend Jessica Gill posted on Facebook: “Well i just can’t believe it God has gained a beautiful angel. Thinking off all the family at this sad time, my heart breaks for all of you.”
Lee Winship added: “RIP my freind lee nutley my thoughts and prays go out to all your family and freinds another top lad taken far to soon all my deepest respects.”
Our thoughts go out to Lee’s family and friends.