Paralysed man living in tent is ‘waiting to die in freezing temperatures’

December 1, 2010


A PARALYSED man who is living in a tent by the Oxford Canal says he has given up and is just waiting to die as temperatures plunge below freezing.

Homeless disabled man left in cold weatherMark Payne, 51, is one of an estimated 250 people who are currently on the streets or in homeless hostels in Oxfordshire.

Earlier this week Mr Payne, who is paralysed from the waist down, became stranded by the Wolvercote lock because his wheelchair got a puncture.

People have been giving him food and offered to take him to a hostel but Mr Payne said: “I can’t move. I’m trapped here.

“I’m just going to stay here and let nature take its course.

“To be honest, I wish I was dead now. If they find my body, they’ll cremate me and I won’t have to wake up anymore.

“I’ll be where my nightmares can’t get me anymore and I won’t be so cold.”

Yesterday Oxford Homeless Pathways said it would be willing to help him, but Mr Payne has declined offers of being taken to a hostel due to what he said were previous bad experiences.

Mr Payne is originally from the Devon and Cornwall region and said his early life was troubled.

He said he lost the use of his legs during an explosion when he was in the military.

Mr Payne said: “I don’t want to go in a hostel because there are alcoholics and drug addicts, and I don’t want to stay there.

“I have stayed in lots before, but I kept getting beaten up. I am easy prey for people like that because I can’t fight back.”

But he said the kindness of people had taken him aback.

He said: “A woman came and gave me a packet of crisps and a cup of tea on Wednesday, another man gave me this tent and someone gave me tobacco.

“When people gave me food the other day, I cried my eyes out. I never knew people could be so kind.”

Temperatures this weekend are expected to drop to -4C.

Lesley Dewhurst, chief executive of Oxford Homeless Pathways, said: “This man does not need to be on the streets in Oxford when it is so cold.

“When temperatures are forecast to drop below freezing for three consecutive nights, we put in emergency procedures to let more people into hostels.

“I know people are often wary of coming to us, but he could even come for the day and then decide if he wants to stay the night.”

She added: “A man as vulnerable as Mr Payne would be given priority before other younger people.

“So I don’t think the story here is about the services letting the man down. I just think it is sad that someone should feel so bad about accepting help.”

from This is Oxfordshire

8 Responses to “Paralysed man living in tent is ‘waiting to die in freezing temperatures’”

  1. amanda Says:

    That last line, “I don’t think the story here is about the services letting the man down. I just think it is sad that someone should feel so bad about accepting help,” is infuriating!

    It’s not about accepting help, it’s about a system which creates these situations and offers no viable alternatives, yes, but it’s also about a world in which there is no hope.

    Everyone should have housing, food, mobility guaranteed, before they are stranded in the cold with a flat.

    Who would want to live in a shelter?

    I sincerely wish Mark finds some other alternatives. I desperately wish he finds substantiated hope.
    I hate to say it, though, but he won’t be the only one in this situation.

    I was recently feeling inspried from a quote i heard from the OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty) 20th anniversary party:

    “If you won’t let us dream, we won’t let you sleep”

    Can we make that commitment?

  2. kaydee Says:

    I was incensed by that comment too Amanda. She totally ignored his bad experiences in hostels & that he feels emotionally, mentally & physically wrecked. My heart goes out to him, to anyone who’s as bereft as that. It’s so devastating & so disturbing to read how he’s feeling & what’s happening to him. His emotional response to people being kind to him is touching, & thank God for their kindness but what he needs is somewhere decent to live asap & full support services in place for him so that he can start feeling like his life is of value & meaning. No-one should have to feel so worthless & destitute that they want to give up & die. There’s no reason for his only option to be the hostels where he’s been attacked & feels so vulnerable.

  3. DiverseJustice Says:

    To many of us are feeling the way he does this day. His voice has spoken out for many that sit silent. There is a high level of temptation to go join him.

  4. John McArdle Says:

    A man who lost his mobility as a consequence of serving in HM Armed Forces should be guaranteed a home of his own at public expense!!!
    It makes me feel physically sick every time I see the PM and politicians praising our heroes killed and wounded in action in the House of Commons when I know fine well the disgraceful way in which the Government washes its hands of them as soon as they have served their useful purpose. SOLIDARITY with our VETERANS who have been betrayed by the British Government and for all those with PTSD!

    They must be immediately EXEMPTED from the indignity of the Work Capability Assessment regime.

    So much for the ‘patriotism’ of successive British Governments! They feather their own nests and those of their wealthy patrons and that seems to be all.

    Shame on successive British Governments for their appalling betrayal of our ex-service men and women!

    Black Triangle – Anti-Defamation Campaign In Defence of Disabled Claimants

  5. This is disgusting than in a Christian country that criticises the rest of the world somebody can be so broken that they want to freeze to death. I only wish I could get there. I’d just book him in a b and b that I know down there. It’s Christmas let’s pray that the Christian spirit that shows at this time of year will help him.

  6. StaffsUniSupporter Says:

    poor sod…

  7. Elaine S Says:

    Why is he not being offered a room in a b&b? In our area of Scotland we have hostels, hotel rooms, b&bs and scatterflats.this man would automatically be seen as a priority and be well looked after and his needs catered for if he feared being attacked. In scatterflats its shared facilities but your own room and flat visitors coming in daily to make sure all is ok. He would stay in temp accommodation till the council found him his own place and as a homeless person and awarded top 100 points he wouldnt have long to wait. They should go out of their way to help accommodate this poor man.

  8. bimble Says:

    Why doesnt someone just let him stay at their house until he gets proper accomadation sorted.He seems pretty rational,doesn’t drink do drugs.He obviously is depressed and has ptsd,BUT so what.If I lived close by I’d get him to mine no problem.
    I’ve done it before with homeless ,and have been homeless myself, and have never had any problems apart from tears of gratitude and overwhelming mutual respect.This country has pretty much lost its heart and soul and neighbourly spirit as the vast majority race around leading their selfish,self obsessed lives.Its disgusting.
    Only a packet of crisps and a cup of tea given to him by people!!!!!!!!!!!!on a Wednesday no less.Disgraceful.This nation really needs to get a grip and start looking out for their community properly.

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