A Boston man known only as ‘Elliot’, despite being well-known in the town, faces being cremated as ‘unidentified’ if no information about who he was comes to light.
‘Elliot’, believed to be in his late 50s or 60s sadly passed away due to natural causes at Lincoln County Hospital following a collapse in McDonald’s restaurant in Boston on 11 April.
Lincolnshire Police subsequently put out an appeal on behalf of the coroner’s service for family, friends or anyone with information to come forward.
Now, a spokesman for the service, has confirmed that if ‘Elliot’ is not identified, then because he died at Lincoln County Hospital, they will arrange a funeral which will entail a cremation.
To make matters worse, he will be labelled as ‘unidentified’.
The spokesman said: “There isn’t a timeframe although the hospital of course cannot keep him indefinitely, we just have to be sure we have tried every possible means of identifying him, as he will be cremated as ‘unidentified’ and this is very sad.”
They called on anyone who can help to come forward and provide information.
Releasing a renewed appeal and a new image yesterday (Thursday), Lincolnshire Police said y that ‘despite extensive enquiries’ they have still not been able to establish his identity.
The latest image was taken while he was being treated in Lincoln County Hospital, before his death.
Despite his full name, or age, not being known, it appears from social media that Elliot was a recognisable figure in the town.
A homeless man, he regularly visited McDonald’s night and day and often slept near Aldi - both located in Queen Street, Boston. Elliot also visited the local betting shops.
Following publication of yesterday’s story on Facebook, Ly Korshakova wrote on The Standard: “He was all the time in Central Park, very polite and friendly.”
After the original story in May, readers paid tribute to ‘Elliot’ with Kimberley Tyzack-Morley saying on The Standard’s Facebook: “This man was such a gentleman, he was a proud man, I met him when I first started working at McDonald’s 13 years ago.
“I never knew he was homeless, even after I left working at McDonald’s he would always stop and have a chat in the street.
“Someone must know more about him.”
Debbie Simms wrote on the Lincs Police Facebook post: “We used to have some right laughs with him.
“We used to have Stargate and the soaps on the bus station end of the shop with subtitles because of lack of speakers.
“He used to keep us company at night when single manning. There was nothing malicious about the practical jokes.
“We used to give him food and drink. It was only banter.”
Nick Meeds added that: “This day and age in this country we should not have people on the streets!
“I know it’s sometimes their own fault but not everyone has a family to fall back on when they make a mistake in life.”
When the appeal was first launched police said they believed Elliot may have had a daughter living in Wrangle and may have originated from the Carlisle area.
Police said he could often be seen wearing a black baseball cap, was a white man of a medium build, around 5ft 5inches tall, had dark but greying hair and wore reading glasses.
Following the appeal homeless charities called on the public to help ensure homeless people are ‘on the system’ and in contact with the right agencies.
Elizabeth Hopkins, Chief Executive of Centrepoint Outreach, told The Standard said the case was ‘tragic’. She said Elliott had not engaged with Centrepoint and so was not registered on the system.
She said: “It’s very sad when you hear about situations like this.”
The charity dealt with 53 people through its drop-in service last month, but Elizabeth acknowledges there are a number of people not on any sort of record - including those too proud to ask for help, those who may be ‘sofa surfing’ and those who just don’t know where to turn.
She said there could be a variety of situations why a homeless person had not engaged with agencies or authorities before but asked people to report homeless people or even speak to them if possible.
She said: “The important thing people can do is help make a person aware of the agencies that can help.
“I would encourage people to talk to anyone they see who appears to be homeless, have a chat, perhaps ask them if they know where to go, or direct them to services.”
If you’re uncomfortable talking to someone you can also call organisations such as P3, who run outreach programmes in the county.
Callers can give the location of a homeless person and volunteers will see if they can find them to help.
Jonny Goldsmith, P3 Operations Manager, Lincolnshire, said: “P3 is deeply saddened to hear about the death of Elliott and that we were unaware of his situation.
“Our team will continue to conduct regular early morning outreaches across Boston and to follow-up on all reports of people seen rough sleeping county-wide.
“This sad case really highlights the importance of the public in helping us to identify those in need of our service.
“Our Boston team cover a large area and we rely on your calls to alert us to anyone seen rough sleeping – please do ring us or use the Street Link mobile app to share this information. We can then act on this and direct our support to those people.
“To do this we have a freephone number which accepts referrals twenty-four seven, so if you see someone rough sleeping please take the time to contact us on 0808 281 0280.
“Once a person is known to us we will work with them to source safe accommodation. A big part of this is establishing their trust – only then can we begin the process of reconnecting them with their community and rebuilding their life.”
Anyone with details should call police on 101, quoting reference 413 of April 11.