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Gogglebox star George Gilbey fell 80ft to his death ‘after tumbling through skylight while working on warehouse roof without a harness’, friend say – as police detain ‘colleague’ on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter

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Gogglebox and Celebrity Big Brother star George Gilbey fell 80ft to his death after tumbling through a skylight while working on a warehouse roof without a harness, friends tragically revealed last night.

George, once a favourite on the Gogglebox sofa with his mother Linda McGarry and stepfather Pete, died after falling from the roof of EGL Homecare in Shoebury, near Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on Wednesday.

Essex Police revealed on Thursday that a man – understood to be a colleague – has been arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.

Police confirmed that George fell and sustained an injury at around 10am on Wednesday. Despite ambulance crews and air ambulances rushing to the scene, the Gogglebox star did not survive.

Friends have now revealed that George scaled the roof of the building without a harness and as his workmates begged him to come down, he fell 80ft through a skylight and landed on the concrete. 

One friend told The Sun: ‘George had not been in a good way and maybe should not have been working at all. He was up on the roof and the others were shouting at him to get down and to be careful.

Gilbey became a household name on Gogglebox alongside mother Linda and stepfather Pete

Gilbey became a household name on Gogglebox alongside mother Linda and stepfather Pete

A police cordon in place at EGL Homecare on Wednesday, where the tragedy is understood to have unfolded

A police cordon in place at EGL Homecare on Wednesday, where the tragedy is understood to have unfolded

Family members have paid tribute to 'kind and gentle' Gogglebox star George Gilbey following his sudden death on Wednesday morning

Family members have paid tribute to ‘kind and gentle’ Gogglebox star George Gilbey following his sudden death on Wednesday morning

‘He was shouting back that he was all right, even though he was not very steady on his feet.

‘Then, he apparently came through a skylight so fell from the outside of the roof about 80ft on to concrete inside.’ The pal added that George ‘did not stand a chance’. 

The newspaper also reports that George was due to appear in court next month for allegedly assaulting an ex partner. 

He has a previous conviction for attacking another ex-girlfriend, Gemma Conway, who is the mother of his daughter Amelie. George was also jailed for drink driving in 2019. 

A spokesman for Essex Police said: ‘As part of our ongoing investigation into the death of a man in Campfield Road, Shoebury on Wednesday 27 March, we have arrested a man in their 40s from the Witham area on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter.

‘This is a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive and our enquiries are ongoing.’

George was an electrician with more than ten years experience, according to his Linkedin entry, and he had ambitions to work in the off-shore wind turbine sector. 

His sudden death comes less than three years after his step-father Pete McGarry died from bowel cancer aged 71.

The family left Gogglebox in 2014 when George entered the Celebrity Big Brother house on rival Channel 5 – which was deemed a rule breaker by producers – but they delighted viewers when they returned to the sofa two years later.

This was the last photo that George Gilbey posted of himself on social media - he said he had just bought a gym membership

This was the last photo that George Gilbey posted of himself on social media – he said he had just bought a gym membership

The former reality TV star rose to fame on Gogglebox with his mother Linda and step-father Pete (pictured together in 2015)

The former reality TV star rose to fame on Gogglebox with his mother Linda and step-father Pete (pictured together in 2015) 

The Gilbey family left Gogglebox in 2014 when George (pictured) entered the Celebrity Big Brother house on rival Channel 5

The Gilbey family left Gogglebox in 2014 when George (pictured) entered the Celebrity Big Brother house on rival Channel 5

George, who had a daughter called Amelie with Gemma Conway in 2016, was part of the fourteenth series of Celebrity Big Brother and even reached the final.

Gilbey’s heartbroken relative Sabrina Browning has since shared a tributes to her older brother with Instagram followers. 

‘My heart is in absolute pieces,’ she wrote on Thursday. ‘You will be missed so much, no words can explain the kind and gentle heart you showed to all you loved and cared for, thank you for everything, rest in eternal paradise brother.’

Browning also shared a series of photos, among them an image of Gilbey holding one of the two TV BAFTA Awards won by Gogglebox after being named Best Reality and Constructed Factual show in 2014 and 2022. 

Just four days ago, George had posted a beaming selfie on Facebook in which he shared that he had purchased a gym membership. He captioned the photo of him sweating alongside another picture of a gym card: ‘Done. Full membership.’

Channel 4 led the tributes on Wednesday, describing George as ‘part of the Gogglebox family’.

Meanwhile fellow TV personality Ricci Guarnaccio, who entered the Big Brother house the same year, wrote: ‘Breaks my heart but George Gilbey you are well and truly going to be missed my friend.

‘Always lit up the room, cared for others & the memories we made I’ll cherish for ever brother. From CBB to speaking to you last week, I’m going to hugely miss you ma boiii! Love you GG.’

Mr Guarnaccio, who also starred on Geordie Shore, said that George’s death came as a result of an ‘accident at work’.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: ‘We received a report of an incident at Campfield Road in Shoebury at around 10am this morning (27 March), during which a man who was working at height had fallen and sustained an injury.

‘The ambulance service including air ambulance were in attendance. Sadly, the man died at the scene.

‘We will continue liaising with partners including the Heath and Safety Executive. A cordon remains in place at the scene.’

Heartbroken friends have claimed that after a troubled few years, the star had been working hard to get his life back on track for the sake of his much-loved daughter. 

On his LinkedIn, the former star said that he worked for his electrical firm WindG, where he conducted electrical testing for commissioning, maintenance and fault finding.

It was dissolved the following year, but among the qualifications he listed on his CV were a rigging and lifting course certified by the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association and training as a slinger and banksman, helping to guide a crane operator using a radio.

Tragically he notes his ambitions to move out of the industry despite being a ‘hands-on electrical engineer with over ten years’ experience’.

George Gilbey is pictured with his mother Linda and late step-father Pete

George Gilbey is pictured with his mother Linda and late step-father Pete

Gilbey pictured with his ex-partner Gemma Conway, with whom he shares a seven-year-old daughter

Gilbey pictured with his ex-partner Gemma Conway, with whom he shares a seven-year-old daughter

Describing himself, he said: ‘I am now ready for the next challenge, seeking new and rewarding working experience in the offshore wind sector. All opportunities considered.’

He included in his LinkedIn entry: ‘I recognise the importance of the Health, Safety and Environmental matters which play a vital role in delivering projects successfully.’

He had also undergone a course in Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET) – an essential qualification for anyone considering working on oil rigs or offshore wind turbines, reachable only by helicopters.

Since 2012, he had been employed on contracts by Essex-based firm George James Electrical Services Ltd. 

At the end of his LinkedIn page, he made passing reference to the TV career which had made him a firm favourite with the viewing public, adding: ‘Do a little Television work on the side (Gogglebox, Celeb BB etc)’ – finishing with a winking emoji.

Speaking to The Sun, they said the loss of the father-of-one would hit his family hard, especially his mother Linda given it is so close to the passing of her husband.

They said: ‘Nobody deserves this to happen so young – 40 is no age. He had started going to the gym and working very hard to do well for his family.

‘This will hit his family very hard, especially Linda. First, she lost Pete, now her son as well.

‘She is incredibly emotional. George was like her little treasure.

‘He was a good bloke with a big heart who loved his family. He was a bit of a party lad, but he was good entertainment.’

George and his family, from from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, were part of the Gogglebox cast which won a Bafta in 2014. George was one of the early regulars featured on the reality show, appearing between 2013 and 2018.

Known to his friends as Squeaky George because of his high-pitched voice, the Essex native charmed viewers with his jocular attitude and his loving relationship with his mother Linda McGarry and step-father Pete. 

But behind the jokes and the banter, Gilbey appeared to have some trouble adjusting to the fame he found with the hit Channel 4 show and ending up in court for his off-screen behaviour.

In recent years Gilbey had worked hard to get his life back on track, including working for supermarket Morrisons during the COVID-19 pandemic

In recent years Gilbey had worked hard to get his life back on track, including working for supermarket Morrisons during the COVID-19 pandemic 

George Gilbey is pictured during Celebrity Big Brother in 2014

George Gilbey is pictured during Celebrity Big Brother in 2014

He wasn’t seen on TV again after being convicted of trying to strangle the mother of his child, and a prison sentence for drink driving appeared to seal the end of his Gogglebox career.

Tributes from celebrities and friends have flooded in for George who was described as ‘one in a million’.

Former EastEnders actress Danniella Westbrook wrote: ‘Gone too soon. Good night, my darling friend George. I’m absolutely gutted xxx.’

Another friend posted: ‘Can’t believe what I’m reading, you were the happiest, the life of the party & such a big part of the HTA family. You will be very missed, rip George.’

A third said: ‘No words. Rip George James Gilbey. Sending our love to Linda McGarry and the family. So sad.’

And a fourth posted: ‘Absolutely speechless. Rest in eternal peace George James Gilbey. Thinking of all your family, life’s really is cruel & tomorrow is never promised!’

Five years after appearing on CBB, George was jailed for three years for drink driving. He was arrested after petrol station staff smelled alcohol on him.

George admitted to drink driving at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court and was jailed due to serving a community punishment following a drunken bust up with his ex-girlfriend Gemma the year prior.

George and Gemma had met in 2015 at the Royal Ascot Races and announced their pregnancy in February the next year, with the funnyman saying becoming a father was ‘going to totally change my life and I can’t wait.’

During the pandemic, George also revealed that he was working at a Morrisons supermarket.

‘Everyone’s gotta do their bit… ‘, the reality TV star captioned his image at the time as he joined thousands of staff working during the global crisis.

George Gilbey is pictured on Celebrity Big Brother. He made the final in the fourteenth series

George Gilbey is pictured on Celebrity Big Brother. He made the final in the fourteenth series

Fellow TV personality Ricci Guarnaccio, who entered the Big Brother house the same year, paid tribute today

Fellow TV personality Ricci Guarnaccio, who entered the Big Brother house the same year, paid tribute today

George also regularly posted photos of his young daughter and his mother, including one of the little girl sat on her grandmother’s lap.

He wrote: ‘Is that not the most endearing pictures you’ve ever seen. I know what you feel about yours That’s mine. It’s mine.’ 

Around four months ago he had also posted a montage of photos with his late father Pete with the caption: ‘I want him here this year.’ 

Pete died after doctors told him he only had six months to live following his bowel cancer diagnosis.

His wife Linda, George’s mother, said Pete’s death left him ‘really cut up’ at the time.

A spokesman for Gogglebox said: ‘George was part of the Gogglebox family for eight series alongside his mum Linda and step-dad Pete. 

‘Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Linda, and George’s family and friends at this very sad time. The family have asked for privacy.’ 



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