Mum of Leeds homeless man dreaded 'inevitable' phone call telling her of his death

THE mother of a homeless man who slept rough in Leeds had dreaded receiving a phone call telling her of his death, an inquest heard.

A photograph of 'Alan' left at the vigil in Leeds city centre last October

Wakefield Coroner's Court heard Sharon Donnelly, who had not seen her 42-year-old son Alan Campbell for seven years, received a phone call from his natural father on October 11 last year saying he had died.

Deputy coroner John Hobson read a statement from Sharon Donnelly in which she wrote: "The call I received saying my son had died was one I had been dreading, but I always thought it was inevitable."

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A photograph of 'Alan' left at the vigil in Leeds city centre last October

Mr Campbell, who was born in Stirling, Scotland, died in the same week last October as another Leeds rough sleeper - known only as 'Geordie.'

A touching candlelit vigil was held under the Dark Arches near Leeds rail station last October in memory of the two men.

The inquest into Mr Campbell's death was told he was suffering from swollen hands and called for an ambulance at around 2.30pm On October 10 2017.

He was collected from a Leeds city centre street and taken to St James's Hospital.

A scene from the candlelit vigil in Leeds last October

The inquest heard Mr Campbell injected cocaine daily and told doctors at the hospital he drank eight cans of lager a day.

Deputy Coroner John Hobson read a statement from Dr Lesley Ann Kilshaw, a consultant in emergency medicine, who said Mr Campbell had been assessed as suffering from sepsis.

The inquest heard Mr Campbell was given drugs to help with alcohl and heroin withdrawal, but his condition deteriorated and he died in the intensive care unit at St James's Hospital just before 9am on October 11 2017.

Dr Kate Gallagher recorded the cause of death as opiode overdose, severe sepsis and rhabdomyolysis - a condition causes muscle damage.

A photograph of 'Alan' left at the vigil in Leeds city centre last October

Mr Hobson adjourned the inquest to a date to be fixed, telling the hearing: I'm going to make a further enquiry in relation to the hospital. There's one point I wish to clarify. This matter is going to be adjourned pending that enquiry and the inquest will be reconvened in due curse once that enquiry is completed."

- Dozens of people assembled for the poignant memorial to Alan Campbell and 'Geordie' at a gathering in Neville Street last October.

Leeds City Council’s chief executive, Tom Riordan, expressed condolences to the friends and families of the men at the memorial.

He told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Leeds City Council and our partners strive to reduce poverty and rough sleeping across Leeds.

A scene from the candlelit vigil in Leeds last October

“Working closely in partnership with third sector organisations like St George’s Crypt and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation means Leeds has about two-thirds fewer people sleeping rough than in comparable cities, with fewer people in temporary accommodation than similar cities.

“However, one person sleeping rough is, of course, one person too many, and the death of people who sleep rough is extremely sad. Our condolences and thoughts go out to the families and friends of those who have died.”

Neville Street was awash with pictures of both men, candles and floral tributes during the vigil.

Touching hand-written cards, penned by friends and those who knew them, were also left in the street for the gathering.

“Rest in peace Angels, ” one message read.

“We will never forget our friends Alan and Geordie. Always in our hearts and minds.”

Another said: “For two years Alan has lived as my neighbour, and one of the best at that!

“We exchanged books, food and a few quid here and there.

“You were such a kind man, with a wonderful mind and a beautiful soul. I will miss you very much.”