Leeds rough sleeper battled with drugs before dying of heart infection, say family in emotional tributes

Lee Jenkinson
Lee Jenkinson
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The family of a rough sleeper who died in Leeds have paid tribute to the man and spoken about his battle with drugs.

Lee, aged 43, has a daughter aged 27 and two grandchildren: a grandson and a granddaughter.

Lee with family members Megan and Leeann Ford. Photo: Donna Manu

Lee with family members Megan and Leeann Ford. Photo: Donna Manu

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Lee's sister Donna Manu said: "He was always a lovely lad and always wanted to make us laugh. He did have a hard life even from childhood.

"He never had a good relationship with his dad like he always wanted.

"He became addicted to drugs until he met Nicola (his former partner), then he stopped doing drugs for a long time and got himself clean.

Lee Jenkinson pictured on the street in Leeds city centre

Lee Jenkinson pictured on the street in Leeds city centre

"He always wanted to help anybody. Even when he was on the street he would tell people to be careful with their handbags and things like that."

Donna said how some awful news in Lee's personal life then 'sent Lee over the edge' and he sadly ended up back on drugs.

"He battled and battled to get off the streets.

"He did get a flat, but he got an infection.

"It was an infection in his heart which the doctors weren't able to treat."

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Lee died at St James Hospital Leeds on December 1. The cause of death was infective endocarditis, said Donna; effectively an infection in the valves of Lee's heart.

She added: "Lee passed away with his sisters and daughter with him. He passed peacefully after a week long weeks battle. Thank you everyone for you lovely comments"

She added: "Although most homeless suffer from some sort of addiction please be mindful that there is a person behind that addiction an all have family who love them very much."

Lee also had a dog with him, which is now being looked after by Donna.

Donna said: "People must think that us as Lee's family didn't care for him to be homeless but please note that we all loved Lee very much an are devastated that his life ended at age of just 43, I know I for one am missing him so much I just wish he would have come home.

"Many times I asked for him to come to me even if it was just for a hot meal a hot bath or shower or just one night in a warm house but Lee was just too proud to take any help.

"I miss Lee with all my heart and promise I will do my best to take care of his dog lady."