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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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‘Desperately sad’ man dies of hypothermia

June 14 2012
You couldn’t wish for a better brother, says sister


Police discovered John Lowndes, 55, highly intoxicated. shivering and lying dressed in pyjamas and a thick coat in a bush off Hillchurch Street, Hanley, on 17 September last year. The ambulance service had been called out twice earlier in the evening, but he had repeatedly refused help, swearing at paramedics who tried to assist him. The concerned emergency staff alerted police, who arrested Lowndes for being drunk and incapable and took him into custody for his own safety. Admitted to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire later that night, Lowndes died a few hours later suffering from hypothermia and a gastrointestinal haemorrhage, linked to sclerosis of the liver.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith said: “I find it desperately sad that an individual should choose to live his life in this particular way.” Lowndes’ last known address was at a housing association flat in 2010, then moving to a tent, and a month before his death, was found sleeping rough behind bins near Stoke station. Lowndes had previously been referred to Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s social services after going into Hanley Jobcentre wearing pyjamas and a tracksuit. The local authority’s homeless team had also tried to offer their support services to him.

His sister, Linda Staton, said he had led a nomadic life. She told the hearing: “One minute you would see him, then the next time would be three years later... When he was sober, you couldn’t wish for a better brother.”