THE UNTIMELY death of homeless man Kevin Filsell under a Bournemouth flyover on a cold January night in 2018 sparked a national debate which raged for nearly a month.

Unfounded fears that he had had his sleeping bag removed snowballed into an all-out assault on the homeless policies of the then Bournemouth Borough Council.

It culminated in rap star Professor Green driving to the town and live-broadcasting his disgust.

The real story was more complicated - Kevin, who lived in the Braidley Road car-park and had never had his sleeping bags removed - had repeatedly refused offers of accommodation from the council, which looked after him via the St Mungo's organisation.

He didn't die of the cold but, sadly, from pneumonia and heart trouble for which he was receiving medical treatment.

He didn't drink or take drugs and was a popular face in the town centre, becoming friends with kind-hearted staff at Patisserie Valerie who invited him to their Christmas party, and a local office worker called Adam, who chatted to him most days and offered to put him up in a BnB.

All offers of further help were politely declined.

At the time of his death, despite extensive efforts, the council and coroner were unable to trace his family and his funeral was organised by the charity, Hope For Food.

The reason why Kevin lived outdoors and why he refused offers of help still can't be explained.

But now the Daily Echo can now clear up some of the mysteries of his life after his sister, Patricia Nightingale, who lives in Sussex, came forward after being alerted to her younger brother's death.

"I hadn't seen Kevin since 1964 when he left England as a child with my parents and three of his siblings to go to Australia," she says. "Their departure from Waterloo Station in London on their way to their ship in Southampton was the last time I saw Kevin."

The family settled in Mitcham, outside Melbourne, where Kevin and his sisters continued their education. "I stayed here because I was older and had a job," she says.

"As far as I knew he was out there and went to school and then it was after he left school and started getting casual jobs in Australia that the family lost touch with him because we had no address for him.

"The last time he turned up was 1986 at the family home and that's where the last photo I have of him was taken."

Periodically the family would contact the Salvation Army in Australia to see if they could trace him but, says Patricia: "We had no idea he'd come back here. It was an absolute shock to us that he'd come back and died in Bournemouth and we still don't know why he came here. We've only discovered from the Bournemouth Echo about how he was found and his funeral."

Patricia said it was a 'huge surprise' to discover her brother was living in the UK when he died.

However, she is comforted by the kindness and care shown to him. "I got in touch with the coroner and saw the post mortem report which said he was wrapped in several sleeping bags when he was found so I kind of accept he didn't die of the cold but of pneumonia and heart failure and had been ill for some time," she says.

Patricia plans to visit Bournemouth in the New Year to try and locate her brother's resting place and speak to those who befriended him, including his friend, Adam.

She has also started a tribute page to her brother which features images of him as a child and in Australia and has raised more than £800 for St Mungo's in his honour.

"Sadly we'll never know why he wanted to live on the streets but it is comforting to know so many people cared about him."