Rough sleeper found dead near Dark Arches is fifth to die on city's streets since October

A rough sleeper whose body was found in Leeds yesterday is the fifth person known to have died while sleeping on the city's streets since October.

Limited details had been made public last night but the man has been named locally as 52-year-old Jason Wager.

Flowers laid at the scene in Neville Street, Leeds, where a man's body was found yesterday. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Flowers laid at the scene in Neville Street, Leeds, where a man's body was found yesterday. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Read more: Man found dead under Dark Arches in Leeds named as 52-year-old who lived on the streets

It appears he had been living in a tent in Neville Street, close to the Dark Arches.

His body was found there shortly before 7am yesterday when officers were called to the scene.

A police cordon and forensics tent remain in place today as investigations continue, with one lane of Neville Street closed to allow pedestrians to pass by safely.

Read more: City centre road partially closed as police work at Dark Arches scene

A police spokesman yesterday said the death was not being treated as suspicious.

“Police attended Neville Street at 6.53am where there was a deceased male," he said. "There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death and a file will be prepared for the coroner.”

Others to have lost their lives include Alan Campbell, who slept rough in Neville Street and died at St James’ Hospital after being admitted on October 10 last year.

A vigil was held in Neville Street for Mr Campbell and a second homeless man, known as Geordie, who had died the previous week.

An inquest later found Mr Campbell had died from opioid overdose, severe sepsis and rhabdomyolysis – a condition which causes muscle damage.

Read more: YEP joins national project to record homeless deaths on UK streets

In late December, tributes were also paid to 50-year-old Nigel Whalley who would often stand outside the Merrion Centre and regularly helped mums struggling with pushchairs on the steps.

Meanwhile, 56-year-old Fiona Watson was found dead in the Dark Arches in January.

She had an address in Hunslet, but seems to have been sleeping rough on the night before she was found dead.

As reported in our series on homelessness last month, Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board will undertake its first ever review into the safeguarding issues linked to homelessness later this year.

Read more: New review to examine deaths of homeless in Leeds

Richard Jones CBE, the board’s chairman, told the YEP: “The board is due to start a thematic Safeguarding Adults Review of the experience of several people who have been homeless and who have experienced abuse and neglect prior to their death in Leeds.”

Leeds City Council is also working on a new strategy to reduce to the number of people sleeping rough in the city after the total rose from six in 2010 to 28 in 2017.