Homeless man found dead in UK graveyard had been sprayed in paint attack

A homeless man who was found dead in a graveyard in England had been sprayed with paint three days earlier in a separate assault, police have said.

Flowers and cards have been left by the wall in Normanby, Middlesbrough, in the north-east of England where red paint could still be seen at the spot where the man who was in his 30s used to sit.

According to reports, someone uploaded a video onto social media of the homeless man being sprayed, with a voice saying: “This is how we deal with beggars on the street.”

It has since been deleted.

Cleveland Police said it received a report about the assault on Sunday and a body was found a few minutes walk away in Eston Cemetery on Wednesday.

There were no suspicious circumstances, the force said.

The scene of the paint attack (Tom Wilkinson/PA)

A force spokeswoman said: “A post-mortem examination has been held and although the death is not being treated as suspicious police believe this man was the victim of a previous incident of assault which resulted in the man being sprayed with red paint.”

Detective Inspector Matt Hollingsworth said: “Police are aware of the speculation on social media regarding the cause of the man’s death but we are not linking the assault with his death.”

A retired couple stopped at the scene where the man was covered in paint to look at the flowers.

The woman said: “I hope they catch whoever did it.

“You used to see him in the summer, he used to sit out here with his shirt off getting a suntan.”

Her husband added: “He was harmless, he was a really nice guy.

“We never heard anything ill said about him.”

Anyone with information about the incident with the paint behind the Tesco store in Normanby is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

- Press Association


More in this Section

Neo-Nazi couple who named baby after Hitler convicted of terror group membership

UN refugee agency warns against returning Rohingya refugees

Netanyahu rushes home after burst of Israel-Gaza violence

Pence arrives in Japan to discuss trade and North Korea


Breaking Stories

I’m A Celebrity: As contestants land in Oz – these are the 10 emotional stages of a long haul flight

Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian and Rita Ora: All the best looks from the E! People’s Choice Awards

Alcohol Awareness Week: How to talk to your children about alcohol

Fed up with urban smog? 5 pollution-resistant plants to help you breathe

More From The Irish Examiner