Homeless man died days after council took his sleeping bag away

No comments
A homeless man found dead near a town hall had his sleeping bag taken away by the local council, it has been claimed.
The rough sleeper, known only as Kev, 66, was found dead under a flyover in a car park in Bournemouth, Dorset.
The friend who discovered him said that just days earlier people from Bournemouth Borough Council ‘removed his sleeping bag and possessions’.
The council has previously come under fire for playing bagpipe music to deter people from sleeping near the town’s bus and railway stations and buying one-way tickets for rough sleepers to leave the town.
The unnamed friend, who had known Kev for 18 months, said: ‘I put my hand on him to shake him and that’s when I knew something was wrong and my heart sank. 
‘A couple of weeks ago he said the council took his sleeping bag. They see it as rubbish but they don’t realise these are homeless people; sleeping bags are the stuff that keeps them warm.’
The friend said Kev never drank or took drugs or ‘asked for anything’ from him. 
He said: ‘I commute through Bournemouth every day and he would sit on the wall at the corner of the road.
‘That’s what made me pull over the first time – I stopped to ask him if he was okay and we got talking.
‘I wondered, if I gave him some money, would it go on drugs and alcohol but to be honest he never did any of that, just smoked roll-ups. He never, ever asked for anything from me.’ 
Councillor Robert Lawton, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: ‘We are very saddened to hear of the death of this gentleman. To be clear, we can confirm that the Council did not remove his bedding and belongings and we have been attempting to engage with him for the last 10 years.
‘The St Mungo’s rough sleeper outreach team had been offering support to him on a regular basis. However, for whatever reason, he felt unable to take up any of this support and regretfully turned down ongoing offers of help for his health and accommodation.
‘Various agencies, including health services, the rough sleeper team and social care nonetheless continued to encourage him to access help and worked hard to try and keep him as safe as possible in these very difficult circumstances. Our thoughts are with those affected by this very sad news.’
Local homeless charity founder Claire Matthews said they hand out sleeping bags to rough sleepers but have had reports of the council taking them away to ‘clean the streets’.
She said Kev came to their soup kitchen four times a week and was popular with the volunteers.
Ms Matthews, 45, who founded Hope For Food charity five years ago, said: ‘Kevin was a lovely man, he came to the soup kitchen four days a week, never asked for anything and was always grateful for what he got.
‘We give out sleeping bags to homeless people and we’ve been told by some of them the council has removed them to clean up the streets. More needs to be done to help these people.’
Brigitte Barnes said: ‘Kev was always ok, kept himself to himself and was never any trouble.
‘He never hassled anyone for money, he was never offensive, he was just Kev..’
A spokesman for Dorset Police said: ‘At 8.31am on Monday Dorset Police were called by the ambulance service to reports of a sudden death after the body of a man was located in Braidley Road car park in Bournemouth.
‘It is not believed there are any suspicious circumstances and the coroner has been informed.’
Earlier this month, the boss of Windsor council sparked outrage when he called for the town’s homeless population to be kicked out before the Royal wedding in May.
Simon Dudley wrote to his local police chief demanding he clear out rough sleepers in time for Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle in May.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thanks For Sharing Your Views