John Wrench – a young man who died sleeping rough in the doorway of M&S in Manchester city centre aged just 25.
Greater Manchester Police said officers were called at around 8.15am on the morning of Monday, 1 February to reports of concern for the welfare of a person off Market Street.
Emergency services attended but sadly a young man was declared dead at the scene.
There are no suspicious circumstances and a file is being passed to Manchester’s coroner.
The man can today be identified as John Scott Wrench, originally from Bolton.
A shrine of flowers, candles and tributes to John has appeared at the spot where he died.
Jim Hutton from Mad Dogs Homeless Project, a charity that supports people sleeping rough in the city centre, told how he had given John some hot food the night before the tragedy.
“I saw him on the Sunday night and gave him some sausage and mash,” said Jim.
“When I heard he was gone I couldn’t believe it. His family are devastated.”
John was one of five siblings and was believed to have been a ‘relatively fit young man’ before he died.
He had a learning disability but no known health conditions, his family said.
According to Jim, the family have been told a post-mortem examination to establish a cause of death was inconclusive.
John was sleeping outside on a bitterly cold night when temperatures were forecast to dip to minus 3 and heavy snow was due to hit parts of Greater Manchester.
Posting about the death on the Mad Dogs Facebook page, Jim added: “Shocking that a relatively fit young man who had been rough sleeping for a short time could be found dead.”
After speaking with John’s sister, Jim said the young man had been struggling since the death of his mother two years ago.
John, known for his passion for Man United and the rapper Eminem, had a difficult upbringing, his family said.
“John and his siblings didn’t have a great start in life and were brought up in what we would now term ‘extreme poverty’,” said Jim.
“It was caused in the main to a parent suffering severe mental health problems which impacted the family and as a result they were deprived of a lifestyle and upbringing many of us take for granted.
“John attended Woodside school in Bolton, a school for children with special needs.
“The family lost mum just over two years ago and this has played a part in causing John to go off the rails.”
Mad Dogs has agreed to help cover the cost of the funeral for John and is asking for donations.
A GMP spokesperson said: “At around 8.15am on Monday 1 February 2021, police received a report of concern for the welfare of a person off Market Street, Manchester City Centre.
“Emergency services attended and a man was sadly found deceased.
“There are believed to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.”
A spokesperson for Manchester’s coroner’s office confirmed they are aware of John’s death but confirmed no further details.
During the recent cold spell, Manchester’s emergency cold weather provision kicked in which offers anyone sleeping rough a bed for the night.
At this stage, it is not known whether John had been offered a place to stay the night before he died.
However, his death comes as Manchester Council met on Wednesday to discuss its proposals for saving £2.3million from the homelessness services budget.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left a £50m hole in the authority’s finances.
A report sent to the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny committee yesterday said 277 people sleeping rough have been accommodated during the pandemic as part of the ‘Everyone In’ programme.