When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
UPDATED: Body found in Bournemouth church doorway
A HOMELESS man has been found dead after seeking shelter from freezing temperatures in a Bournemouth church doorway.
The 42-year-old was discovered by shocked church keeper Bob Bembridge when he arrived to open up Richmond Hill St Andrew’s Church on Sunday, January 20.
Police and paramedics were called but efforts to revive the man failed and the Coroner has been informed. An inquest has yet to open into the death of the deceased who comes from the Norwich area.
Bob, 75, who has worked at the church for 32 years, said: “It was a terrible shock because I’d seen the man sleeping there before. I’d even spoken to him and warned him of the dangers of seeking shelter in the main doorway to the church.
“He was wearing a light anorak and jeans; he didn’t even have a blanket around him. The wind was whistling around him; it was extremely cold. I tried to find his pulse but I knew in my heart that he had gone.
Church secretary Shirley Rawling said: “It is so sad. The congregation has been told. They are all concerned that this has literally happened on their doorstep and the matter has been handed over to the coroner.
“The man was homeless and had sought shelter in the door of the church; it was a very cold weekend.
“My husband, Brian, who is a retired minister, has offered to conduct the funeral service – we have no minister at present and Brian helps out by taking services.”
Colin Trounce, 81, a retired chartered accountant from Verwood, who has been a member of the congregation for 20 years, said: “Something should be done to ensure that this can’t happen again.
“This is a terrible situation; the man involved had been living on the streets. In this day and age no-one should die in this way. It’s very difficult to keep the church open at all times; the community at large should take steps to prevent another tragedy .
“It strikes me that the town centre rangers should also patrol at night; people must be made aware that this sort of thing is happening in Bournemouth. There should be somewhere homeless people can be guaranteed to get a roof over their heads on very cold nights.”
Homeless campaigner John Coulston said: “This saddens me; it’s really hard for people on the streets and I think the economic situation is making matters worse. These people are so vulnerable.
“If homeless people come from outside the area they are usually given just three nights shelter before being sent on their way. We’ve 33 people at Michael’s in Boscombe; for us geography doesn’t come into the equation because homelessness is a national problem.”
John, 85, who won a papal medal for his charity work, ran the Sacred Heart Drop-Inn centre and soup kitchen on Richmond Hill and St Michael’s night shelter.