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Police inquiry into death of Witney rough sleeper

March 04 2010
IPCC investigates the death of a 46-year-old homeless Oxfordshire man


The death of a 46-year-old homeless man, whose body was found above a post office in Witney, Oxfordshire, on 26 January, is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Police spokeswoman Victoria Brandon said it was a "mandatory referral" as the local constabulary, Thames Valley Police, had been in contact with him within 48 hours of his death.

According to the Witney Gazette, the man, who is thought to have been sleeping rough around the town for a few days, had been seen by police the day before. "We were called at 9.39am by HSBC reporting that a man was unwell outside their building. Two police officers attended and the man was taken away by the ambulance service," said a spokesperson for Thames Valley Police.

According to Ngozi Fakeye, spokeswoman for South Central Ambulance Service, the man was taken to a doctors' surgery with a drop-in centre, but was not treated. She told The Pavement: "Police called us to see the man in the first instance when he was outside HSBC bank. As his observations were good and it was the drop-in centre that he was taken to, they would not have treated him, just given him shelter.

"We were called out by the police the next day, but sadly the patient was deceased."

Office workers believe the man was from Cornwall and had been searching for relatives in Hailey. Jason Bell, a local man, said: "For two days running I saw him outside HSBC. He was quite thin and unshaven as though he had been living rough."

The man cannot be named before an inquest is held.