UK police find family of man who lay dead in tent for up to a year


A homeless man lay dead in a tent for up to a year before being found, police have said.

His body was discovered in August last year near Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. A driving licence, birth certificate and newspaper dated August 2016 were also found in the tent near the A370.

On Friday, officers said they had tracked down the man’s family after releasing an image of him, though he has not yet been formally identified.

Police said they believed the man was called Peter Thomas Harrison, born in Birmingham, who was aged 59 or 60 when he died.

“We also believe he was a driver by trade and had spent recent years in and around the Weston-super-Mare area,” said PC Andy Henderson of Avon and Somerset police.





Peter Thomas Harrison



Police believe the man was called Peter Thomas Harrison.

“This is a really sad case of a man who appears to have been sleeping rough and whose death seems to have gone unreported. It would appear he had been dead for up to a year before he was found and, due to the condition of the remains, it has been extremely difficult to establish for certain who he is.”

It was reported at an inquest into his death that emergency services were called to the tent at about 3.20pm on 15 August. The tent was located near homes in Bleadon Hill.

After locating the man’s family, Henderson said: “I’d like to thank all those who called in with information after seeing our appeal. We had struggled to track the man’s next of kin down but we have now managed to speak to them and put them in touch with the coroner.

“We will now continue to provide them with support while the formal identification process takes place.”

The cause of death was not established in a postmortem because of the extensive decomposition of his body.

The number of recorded deaths of homeless people more than doubled over five years, from 32 in 2013 to 77 in 2017. Forty deaths have been recorded so far this year. This means at least 318 homeless people have died since 2013. The average age of the rough sleepers who have died in the past five years was 43, about half the typical life expectancy in the UK.

Concerns have been raised that the government does not record the number of deaths for the UK as a whole and local authorities are not required to count the deaths of rough sleepers.



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