Homeless man died in Basildon town centre days before winter shelter was due to open

EMERGENCY services have confirmed that a man was found dead in Basildon town centre at the weekend.

Basildon Council confirmed the victim was a ‘homeless man’, adding: “This individual was known to us and had been offered help.”

He has been named locally as Lee Tyler, who was known to beg outside Asda.

His body was found in East Walk on the evening of Saturday, November 9, said Essex Police.

No cause of death has yet been released. Police said a file was being prepared for the coroner.

Council leader Gavin Callaghan said: “It is heartbreaking that people can die on our streets and our thoughts are with all those affected.”

Essex Police said it had been contacted at 7.40pm on Saturday with ‘concerns for the welfare of a man’.

A spokesman said: “Officers attended and sadly found the man had died. His death is not being treated as suspicious and a file has been prepared for HM Coroner.”

The ambulance service confirmed it too had been called out, shortly before 8pm, to ‘reports of a man in cardiac arrest’, but emergency workers found he had already died.

In a post on Facebook, Mr Tyler’s sister claimed he had suffered childhood abuse, turned to drugs at a young age and ultimately pursued a life of crime.

She wrote: “I loved my brother dearly… Lee Tyler marked all our lives in a very negative way and we have all suffered his addiction… May he finally rest in peace.”

Cllr Callaghan urged any homeless people who needed food, clothes, shelter or other assistance to contact StreetLink or Basildon’s winter emergency night shelter.

The emergency shelter is set to open this Monday, November 18, and remain operational until March 31.

The seven-nights-a-week operation is run by a team of roughly 170 volunteers, offering refuge from the cold in different locations on different nights – mostly in church halls.

Last year almost 100 people made use of the scheme.

Mr Tyler’s death came exactly a month after the YA reported that Basildon had one of the highest child homelessness rates in the UK, with spiralling house prices and rents forcing even working people into homelessness.

A report released by Basildon Council last month described the borough’s housing market as ‘broken’.

*Homeless people needing help can call StreetLink on 0300 500 0914.

The Basildon Emergency Night Shelter can be contacted by dialling 07375 622117, or emailing [email protected]

Charles Thomson

Chief ReporterEmail: [email protected]