Mark Starr’s family thought he was thriving in a new city. The truth was far darker – The Guardian

Posted in Tattoo Nightmares on Dec 10, 2019

On 8 July, Police Scotland issued a statement: Police are appealing for the assistance of the public in tracing relatives of 53-year-old Mark David James Starr, who was found dead within the Glasgow Green area of Glasgow on 28 June 2019. Starr was homeless and had been sleeping rough in Glasgows oldest city park. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances, although the cause of death has not yet been determined.

Three weeks later, another appeal was issued. Officers believe Mr Starr may have relatives in the Kent area, but have been unable to track down any family members despite a previous appeal on 8 July. It seemed like one of those horribly familiar stories homeless man dies alone, with no one to miss or mourn him.

We didnt find out till five weeks after Mark died. And then it was on social media, says Marks mother, Sue. She looks at her daughter, Karen. One of your friends saw it on Facebook didnt she, and texted you.

Yeah, she said: This isnt your Mark, is it? Karen says. I couldnt believe it.

I still cant believe it, Sue says. Well, you dont ever imagine one of your children is going to end up in that situation, do you? He always told me he was doing fine in Glasgow. Silence.

They sound numb. Both are still in shock. Its September, barely a month since they heard the news, and only a week since Mark Starrs funeral in his home town, Ashford, Kent. Sue and Karen tell us about the service. Four old friends carried the coffin, and they played some of Marks favourite songs: Bitter Sweet Symphony, Like a Rolling Stone, He Aint Heavy, Hes My Brother all of them painfully apt.

We meet at a cafe in Ashford town centre. Karen is shy and withdrawn; Sue is open and talkative, and even in her grief she wheezes with laughter at some of the things Humpy got up to. Humpy is Mark. Thats the nickname his older brother, Tony, gave him when he was a little boy because he always got the hump. Somebody would take his ball or he would go fishing and catch nothing, and Mark would strop off for a couple of hours. But he always came back. He loved his nickname, and had it tattooed on his arm. It was his only tattoo.

726 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2018, according to the latest ONS figures. Over the next few months, G2 and Guardian Citieswill look behind this statistic to tell the stories of some of those who have died on Britains streets. We will tell not just the story of their death, but the story of their life what they were like as kids, what their dreams were, their hobbies, what people loved about them, what was infuriating. We will also examine what went wrong with their lives, how it impacted on their loved ones, and if anything could have been done differently to prevent their deaths.

As the series develops, we will invite politicians, charities and homelessness organisations to respond to the issues raised. We will also ask readers to offer their own stories and reflections on homelessness. We want the stories we tell to become the fulcrum of a debate about homelessness; to make a difference to a scourge that shames us all.

It is time to stop just passing by.

Mark was born two months premature, weighing just three and a half pounds. We didnt think hed survive, Sue says. I was going to call him Jason. I just liked the name. But the priest came to see me and said: I think we better get the baby christened straight away, and I couldnt think straight. He suggested Mark, cos he was a saint. After a month, Mark began to thrive and Sue was allowed to leave hospital.

The Starrs were a close family, but nobody was closer to Mark than Tony. He isnt here today because he has taken his brothers death so badly. We used to get the school bus together and the driver called us the Three Musketeers because we always looked out for each other, Karen says. Sue and Karen have brought photos with them. There are pictures of Mark eating a toffee apple in Hastings, holding a tiny monkey, camping with friends in Wales.

I dont think they washed all week! Sue says. Her laughter sets off her hacking smokers cough. Like all the family, Sue sounds cockney even though she was born and bred in Kent. She tells us about the rosettes Mark won for showjumping. There was a time we thought he would be a jockey. He was really good. But as with so much, he lost interest.

There are so many stories about Mark most of them involving the outdoors, and things going hopelessly wrong. There was the time he went camping and the tent blew away in the middle of the night because they hadnt secured it properly; the school trip when he got lost; the visit to Luton to watch George Best when he and Tony got on the corrugated iron roof and fell through it. He was a happy, fearless boy, they say.

Mark left school at 15 without qualifications. He was never going to be a scholar, Sue says. His reports always said: Could do well, but lacks concentration. He got a job assisting a gamekeeper. The problem was he didnt bother turning up to work. He did come clean in the end, Sue says. He was just hanging out with his mates. You always thought he was listening to you, but he wasnt really. Nothing appeared to worry him, she says. And thats what stopped her worrying about him for a while.

A few weeks later we meet Tony Starr with Sue in Ashford. With red hair stretching down his back and a lived-in face, Tony looks like an ageing rock star. His early memories of Mark are idyllic fishing with their father every Sunday, floating down the river on homemade rafts, crabbing on the beach, listening to nightingales in the woods, hanging off cliffs to collect birds eggs. Not a care in the world, mate, he says. Wed take a few jam sandwiches; when we were thirsty we drank river water! Humpy was a good fisher. You made your own entertainment in them days. We werent stuck in front of a screen eight hours a day.

But the more he talks about his brother, the more complex the character that emerges. As a young boy, Mark had terrible nightmares. Hed wake up in the night, proper screaming. We never understood why. Id just pick a slipper up and throw it at him. Shut up Humpy. One night we were hanging out in the back garden, in a tent, camping out, and Humpy was screaming in his sleep. The neighbour jumped over the fence. He thought we were being attacked. Humpy always sucked his thumb. Even into his late 30s, he sucked his thumb.

Rather than being carefree, it sounds more like Mark simply didnt care, so he would steal packets of Chewits as a kid and not worry about being chased by the shop owner, and years later would drive without having passed his test. Sue talks about the time his grandmother needed a lift and Mark called for her in a little white van. When Marks grandmother complained that it was cold and asked him if the windows were open, he replied there were no windows. I said to Mark: Youve not got a licence, you cant keep doing this. I dont need a licence, he said. That was always his attitude he didnt need the paperwork, didnt need to follow rules, didnt need money or a job he would get by.

And, for a time, he did. His family still say he never seemed unhappy. He had plenty of friends, and was popular with women. In his early 20s, he moved in with his girlfriend, Rebecca. She was stunning, Tony says. Honest to God, shed make Page 3 girls look ordinary. I thought: youre punching above your weight there, Hump. But Rebecca only had eyes for him. Theyd been friends as kids she was a bit of a wild child.

Tony says Mark and Rebecca started to take cannabis, and progressed from there. Before long they were injecting heroin. Then one day Mark woke up, and Rebecca was dead in bed next to him. She was 24. He never recovered from that, Tony says. A part of him never came back.

Mark, aged about 9, is centre, holding a monkey with his sister Karen (left), brother Tony (back right) and friends on holiday in Hastings

Even then his parents didnt know he was addicted to heroin. Mark returned to the family home, and one day his father found a syringe in his bedroom. Mark told his father, a concrete finisher on building sites, that it wasnt his syringe. And his dad said: Well, its not mine or Mums or Tonys or Karens. Dont treat me like a fool, its got to be yours, Sue says. Tony remembers how distraught their father was that day. We had a few chickens back then. I went down to see my dad and he was in tears, looking at the chickens. Blank face. Id never seen my dad like that. He was just so sad about it.

After Rebeccas death, Mark lost three more people he loved: his aunt Elsie, who used to take the Starr children on holiday every summer and was known in the family for making the best chips in Kent; his best friend, Martin (another drug addict); and his father, who died suddenly 20 years ago, when he was still working on building sites. Humpy took it bad. Dad adored all of us, but Humpy was his favourite. And Humpy loved Dad.

Wed be up till six or seven in the morning just chatting and hed say: You dont know what its like to go in bins and search for food'

As time went on, Mark became less and less functional. He served a few short prison sentences for shoplifting and then three years of a five-year term for attempting to import 60g of heroin in his pants. Even when he was in jail he told his family that he was doing just fine. Sue reads a letter Mark sent from Elmley prison on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, soon after arriving there. The foods OK. Send my love to everyone. Tell Aunt Elsie Im OK and not to worry see you both in a couple of months. Lots of love, Mark.

He came out of prison, tried to beat his addiction and failed. But still his family insist he didnt seem to have a care in the world. He had a council flat in Ashford and would pop round every day to Karens for a cooked breakfast. Tony says he never forgot a birthday, would always trim his grandmothers hedge, and that he was a wonderful uncle to Tonys son, Jude. Humpy thought the world of my boy. Hed come round for Sunday dinner and straight afterwards hed say: Come on, Jude, lets go out and have a game of football. When Eminem came over he got a photo signed by him. God knows where he got it from.

Despite the acts of generosity, Marks life became more and more chaotic. He would disappear for long periods of time without telling the family. Tony went round to his flat one day and was shocked to see drug paraphernalia everywhere. It was like needle city. I went mad. I said: You silly bugger. Leave that stuff alone, its a one-way ticket to misery. But it was like talking to a brick wall. I said: Humpy mate, they are going to get rid of you, and they did. They evicted him.

It was about eight years ago that Mark was evicted from his flat in Ashford. There were times he stayed with Tony and Sue, and times he lived on the streets. Tony says some local people treated Mark with contempt. Kids used to throw water over him. He got no help in Ashford. He was frowned upon. He would stay with Tony, but after a few days he would find it claustrophobic. Then hed just go. He couldnt stay in one place. Over the years Mark became delusional. Neither Tony nor Sue believe he got the support he needed. There aint no mental health these days, Tony says. Its all shot to pieces.

Four years ago, Mark upped and left Ashford. Again, he didnt give his family warning. Eventually he phoned me up and I said: Where are you, Mark? And he said: Im in Scotland, Sue recalls. I said: What are you doing up there? He said: Its lovely here, and the people here are lovely. He said he was staying in a hostel. I was looking after my mum who had dementia and couldnt be left, and he phoned up and said: You and nan will have to come up for a holiday when Ive got my own place. Its really good up here. Im happy. I said: Thank goodness for that. Then he told them he did have his own place. And Sue says she really was convinced he was thriving.

However, on his occasional returns to Ashford, Mark seemed to be anything but thriving. His mental health had deteriorated and his delusions had got worse. One time he said: Ive got to go, Im meeting Jay-Z and Beyonc tonight, Tony says. I said: Have a nice time, Hump. Then hed tell us that Roman Abramovich had lent him his yacht.

Did he say things like this when he lived in Ashford? Yeah, but it just got worse, Sue says. One of the last times he came down, he said: I met Rebecca and Dad up town and theyre coming back. She doesnt know whether to laugh or cry, so she does a bit of both. Thats when I knew how ill he was. He really believed it.

Occasionally he told Tony the truth. Wed be up till six or seven in the morning just chatting about old times and chewing the fat, and hed say: You dont know what its like to go in bins and search for food. That really kicked the stomach out of me; to think he had to do that. Sue shakes her head. He never said anything like that to me. He always made out he was all right up there. He werent, Tony tells her gently. He werent, Mum. Sue says she still doesnt understand why Mark went to Scotland. Tony tells her Mark said that people like him were better supported in Glasgow than Ashford.

As with the rest of Britain, there is a homelessness crisis in Scotland. Shelter Scotland figures show that in 2018-19, 36,465 homeless applications were made and 29,894 households were assessed as homeless by their local authority. In Glasgow, 5,679 homeless applications were made in 2018-19, from a population of 608,000. But Scotland is also making a serious attempt to address its crisis. The country is piloting Housing First in five of its biggest cities, based on models that have been used successfully in places as diverse as Finland and New York. Housing First is founded on the principle that people with complex needs are provided with a home and wraparound services at the same time. It is, though, a slow and expensive process. In Glasgow, the hope is that, over five years, 600 people will be taken off the streets or out of emergency accommodation and provided with homes.

In March, it was revealed that 139 people had died in Scotland on the streets or in temporary or supported homeless accommodation over the past 18 months. One thing that devastates the Starr family is how long it took them to find out that Mark was dead. Tony says Police Scotland was efficient and supportive. It contacted Kent police immediately to inform them about Mark. And thats when things went awry. Kent police turned up at the doorstep of Sues house, but by then she was living with a friend. The person now living in Sues house has since told her that he passed her new address to the police. But the police never got in touch with her. When she heard that Kent police were looking for her, she phoned them, but was told by an officer that he knew nothing about the matter.

It is early September, more than two months since Mark died, and Kent police has still not spoken to the family, let alone apologised (though it does a couple of months later). Tony says this has made the grieving process much more painful. He feels he never got the chance to say a proper goodbye to his brother.

Tony decides to come to Scotland with us to find out more about Marks final months. He hopes it might provide the family with some kind of closure. Sue says she would find it too upsetting, but is glad he is doing it on the familys behalf. What is she hoping he will find out? Its a silly question, really, but was he happy up there? She smiles. Its a strange thing to say isnt it? Happy on the street. But I know he was happy there sometimes.

It is early morning in mid-October, and were on the train to Glasgow. Tony has already cracked open a few cans of heavy-duty lager. Its hard to know whether its dutch courage or habit. Sometimes, he says, he will only drink a couple of cans in a day; sometimes many more. He likes to smoke cannabis, too, but has never used class A drugs. Hes terrified of them he saw what they did to Mark.

Tony has also had a tough life. He has anxiety and depression, and says that, in his 20s, there was a year after a relationship ended when he could barely set foot outside his house. When he and Judes mother split up, he looked after Jude. In December 2003, two people turned up at his house demanding that he hand over Jude. Tony refused and was stabbed in the face. One of the assailants was subsequently jailed, and the incident left Tony with post-traumatic stress disorder. Soon after the attack, Tony won custody of Jude.

They told me to sleep under a camera so I cant be murdered. What fucking chance have I got?

Tony has not worked since then, and has struggled financially. There have been times, he says, when it could easily have been him homeless as well as Mark. Ive had letters saying: Were going to evict you. It can happen to anybody. Its really scary. Two years ago, there was a mix-up with the council, I fell briefly behind with rent and they went straight to eviction proceedings.

Tony is feeling emotional. He says he had to make this trip because Mark would have done the same for him. He takes out a photo the last picture taken of the two brothers. Tony is topless, and they both look a little the worse for wear. He was a bit bony by then. You know my last memory of Humpy is him walking down the path and me saying: I love you, Hump. He said: I love you too, bruv. Thats the last words I said to Humpy. I had a sixth sense something was going to happen. I told a few friends, Im going to get a phone call soon.

He is also thinking about the good times, not all of them from childhood. Six years ago, they saw the Rolling Stones play in Hyde Park one of the best days of their life, he says. We were stood in a posh pub in our shorts smoking a joint. I think we got away with it cos the Stones were playing. We went to some blinding concerts, but that was the best. Unbelievable. It was the last concert we went to. Ill cherish that memory. He opens another can. Theres only one Humpy Starr, believe me. He was unique.

Excuse me, love, you dont recognise this fella, do you? Its my brother. Tony kneels down to talk to a young homeless woman on the street a girl really. He shows her the picture. She doesnt recognise him, but they chat for a couple of minutes. Its almost midnight, and the street homeless people of Glasgow are bedding down for the night.

Tony approaches a skinny man with a red pointy beard. Barry, who is in his late 30s, has been living on the streets for the best part of 20 years and looks like a cross between Billy Connolly and Worzel Gummidge. He doesnt recognise Mark either, but he forms an instant bond with Tony. Barry says he would rather be on the streets than in the hostels because they are loud, dirty and violent.

How dyou cope? Blimey, you must be battle hardened by now, Barry? Tony says.

Aye, Im used to it. There have been a lot of deaths when its been cold, but cold doesnae bother me. Some of the public can be all right, but youve also got the ones that walk past and spit on you. You need to find somewhere safe at night in case a crowd come and set on you.

Outside our hotel, Semra hobbles past with a sleeping bag. She looks at the photo, and says she knew Mark. Thats a nice photo of you and your brother, she says. He kept himself to himself. He wasnae a troublemaker. He was quite funny. There were scumbags who if you injected and ODd, the bastards would run away and take you for everything. He wasnae like that. Tony asks her if he was still on drugs? He was still using. He was doing rock [crack cocaine]. But he was never a drinker. Just the odd can.

Semra says she has been turned away from a hostel for being abusive, but insists she was just bantering with a friend. She has been homeless for some time, but this is her first night on the street and shes terrified. They told me to sleep under a camera so I cant be murdered. What fucking chance have I got? She pauses, and looks at Tony. You can see the sadness in your eyes. You can see the hurt. Im so sorry for your loss.

Tony says her account of Mark rings true. He didnt really drink, but he did like his crack. Most important to Tony, she said Mark was a good man.

Soon after getting to Glasgow, we receive a call from the council press office just guidance, they say. They tell us that Mark did have accommodation, but he was evicted twice once after uncapped needles were found in his temporary home, and another time for being aggressive. Tony is upset when I tell him the news. He says he has never known Mark to be aggressive. Yes, he says, he would fight back if provoked, but thats all.

Shelter Scotland call us to say it has information that may be of interest to Tony. We rush over to its offices, where we meet the community hub manager Davy MacIver and the senior development worker Stephen Wishart. They make for a good double act MacIver small and quietly spoken, Wishart big and combative.

Shelters role is to ensure that the statutory rights of homeless people are being met. And it turns out that it has just begun, for the first time in its history, legal action against Glasgow city council for failing to provide accommodation for homeless people. Scotland has a simple rule when people are having a homeless application assessed, the council has a duty to provide temporary accommodation for them. Those who have been denied the right to emergency accommodation are said to have been gatekept. Shelter decided to take legal action against the council after the councils own figures revealed that 3,365 applications for temporary accommodation had not been fulfilled in the year up to March 2019, compared with 3,055 over the previous 12 months a 10% increase. Whats more, Shelter has evidence that Mark Starr was gatekept at least twice this year.

You need properly resourced accommodation providers with specialist provision. Private landlords are not going to do the trick

The reasons given for the gatekeeping are shocking. Shelter shows us Marks case notes. Client [was] accommodated until last week (30/4) in the Copland Rd hotel. He travelled to England for a day trip for family bereavement and on his return [was] notified that his accommodation was closed and has not been accommodated since.

For about a week he was sleeping rough and couldnt get accommodated again, says MacIver. Thats when we come in. We would have assisted him with his legal requirement to accommodation. On another occasion he was gatekept after giving up a temporary furnished flat when he had started hearing voices. Again, the council failed to provide him with emergency accommodation. Shelter says the last time it saw him, it helped him find accommodation, but it didnt see him in the final month of his life, and doesnt know how he ended up back on the streets. He was due to meet Shelter on 28 June for help with his personal independence payment claim. He didnt turn up. That was the day he died, a day before his 54th birthday.

Tony asks whether there is any reference to violent behaviour in the case notes. No, Wishart says. He doesnt seem to be one of the clients who have been asked to leave places for violence it was never an issue. But Ive seen people asked to leave these places for cheek rather than aggression, and were told its aggression. But then when you look at it, its someone telling them to F-off.

Tony tells them his mother wants to know whether Mark was happy in Glasgow. He knows the answer, but he still feels he has to ask on behalf of Sue. I wouldnt say he seemed unhappy, if that makes sense, Wishart says. Given his circumstances, he was engaging. We get a lot of angry people in here, but Mark wasnt like that. He was never up, never down, always even. Mark was a nice guy.

Tony mentions that the council said he had been evicted for leaving uncapped needles on the floor of his flat. MacIver gives a despairing look. Private accommodation providers arent set up to cope with the situations theyre having to deal with, he says. Their response is to have a zero-tolerance policy because thats the only thing they can effectively manage. You need properly resourced providers with specialist provision. Private landlords are not going to do the trick.

They talk about the Housing First model being rolled out gradually across Glasgow, and say its wonderful in principle. Housing First is actually designed for people like Mark, Wishart says. Yet I sit in meetings and hear about people being too complex for Housing First. So what are they not too complex for? Or are they just never to have a house? Is that it? OK, well, lets just throw the towel in because were in the wrong game. Anyway, dont get me started. But its too late. Wishart is fuming.

It's horrible. People sleep under bridges by Central station and people spit on them and kick them. A guy got stabbed last week

What would victory look like in the battle against the council? Thats easy to answer, says Wishart. That people like Mark who approach the local authority and make a homeless application and ask for emergency accommodation, they get it.

Tony is impressed by their passion and the fact that Mark may be one of the test cases in the legal action. As we leave, he makes an impromptu speech in praise of Scotland. Im thankful for what youve told me. Humpy was born in England, but died a son of Scotland. He loved the Glasgow people. Ive only been here a day, but I can see why. Ill be coming back.

Wherever we go we bump into Barry on the streets, and hes brimming with ideas about where Tony might find people who knew Mark. He suggests we visit the City Mission day centre. At night its building serves as emergency accommodation for homeless people. The main hall is packed with people chatting at tables, eating and playing pool. Margaret, a middle-aged woman with a kindly, prematurely aged face, smiles affectionately when she sees the photo of Mark. He was lonesome, she tells Tony. Me and my pals would sit next to him and talk to him. I talked to him all the time. Hed say: Im down. It was sad.

Tony asks her if Mark was a drinker? Tony seems to use the answer as a gauge of reliability. No, Margaret says. He just liked the one can. He asks what its like to sleep rough. Its horrible. People sleep under bridges by Central station and people spit on them and kick them. A guy got stabbed last week on the other side of the bridge. Its dangerous, aye. Dangerous. Tony hugs her as we leave.

The next day we meet SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter, Glasgow city councils convener for health and social care. Hunter says she is proud of the homelessness work the council is doing with Housing First, and explains how radical it is because homeless people no longer need to prove themselves tenancy ready when they move in. However admirable the model, it means little to Tony, and he can no longer hold back.

We found out by law my brother should have been housed, Tony says.

Yes, Hunter says, gently.

Three times he had to find somewhere to live and he was on the streets.

I cant talk in detail about your brothers case, but there can be circumstances where people get asked to leave accommodation, Hunter says.

I would absolutely not say our homelessness systems are fit for purpose because I know they are not

See, Im thinking if my brother had been put somewhere and he got help that he needed, he could still be alive today.

Hunter nods silently. Would she accept that the council has failed to fulfil its duty to homeless people? A hundred per cent, she says. Those figures are provided by us, and its part of our system to record every instance where somebody isnt accommodated.

So is she glad that Shelter is mounting its legal challenge? No, I find Shelter really difficult to work with to be honest, she says. When we came into administration [in Glasgow in 2017], it was clear that we had a dysfunctional homelessness system that we have failed people, and that we have had significant failures in our systems. Im not saying Shelter shouldnt challenge us, but I would like them to work with us to improve the system.

She says the SNP-run council is making progress, but Shelter hasnt given it enough time. You cant just shut the system down and reboot it. It has to happen incrementally. Thats why its a five-year plan. I would absolutely not say our homelessness systems are fit for purpose because I know they are not.

Hunter has a point. The very fact that it is unlawful to deny homeless people temporary accommodation in Scotland is a sign of how seriously it takes the issue. As is the fact that Glasgow city council itself provides figures for the number of times it has failed to accommodate people in temporary accommodation the stick with which Shelter can beat it. But the bottom line, as Hunter acknowledges, is that the council has acted unlawfully.

Its a beautiful, cold, fresh day in Glasgow Green. Tony has brought Marks ashes to scatter over the Nelson Monument, close to where he died. He opens the box, throws them into the air and breaks down. There you go, Hump. There you go, bruv. He kisses the memorial and crosses himself. I love you, Hump. God bless you, brother. Will you keep a space for me up there, Humpy? Take care, bruv. I love you.

After gathering himself, he phones Sue to tell her he has scattered Marks ashes. She asks him what he has found out about Marks time in Glasgow. He tells her that he has met people who knew him, and that they have only good things to say about him. He doesnt say anything about whether Mark was happy here in his final days.

When he puts the phone down, he tells us he has been shocked to discover the life Mark was leading. I didnt think hed go downhill like this. I really didnt. He had a hard life up here on his own, a lot of the time wandering around the streets, freezing cold, soaking wet, nothing to eat, treated like a dog, really. And yet, despite everything, he says something positive has come out of this. Walking in Humpys footsteps, I felt closer to him, he says. Being with the homeless in Glasgow has been very humbling. After hearing some of the stories. I cant believe the kindness they show.

What was he expecting? To be honest, I was expecting: No, I dont want to talk to you, F-off. No one said that. I just think of Humpy being on a park bench somewhere, freezing cold, and Margaret turning up with her friends and trying to cheer him up. Some of the public think theyre the dregs of society, yet theyve got more kindness, more resilience, more compassion ... theyre unbelievable.

As we head back south, Tony opens a can of lager. There is so much to tell the family, he says. No, he cant say Mark died happy or comfortably, but he thinks he can tell them something equally important. He talks about the Shelter case, and sitting in Mhairi Hunters office telling her that Mark might still be here if the council had done right by him. And he talks about the possibility of Mark being cited as evidence that the council did not fulfil its statutory duty to the homeless people of Glasgow. He knows his family will continue to grieve for Mark, but maybe, just maybe, something good will come of his death. If Humpy stops more people dying on the streets by holding the council to account, he says, then his death wont have been in vain.

Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org

If you are worried about becoming homeless, contact the housing department of your local authority to fill in a homeless application. You can use the gov.uk website to find your local council

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Mark Starr's family thought he was thriving in a new city. The truth was far darker - The Guardian

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