A HOMELESS man remains in hospital being treated for severe third-degree burns after a passing stranger set him alight while he slept in Coventry.
The ‘disgusting’ attack at the Swanswell Park and Pool on Stoney Stanton Road, city centre, which we reported yesterday, has drawn condemnation from across the city.
A West Midlands Police spokesperson today told us the victim remained in hospital, at least three days on.
Police say the victim awoke due to his burns to see a man not known to him inflicting the damage – while another watched on.
The man had set his victim on fire after pouring lighter fluid on his hands, the police added.
Inspector Lesley Meade who leads the city policing team said: “This is a horrendous, disgusting attack on a vulnerable homeless man who was simply trying to get some sleep.
“Mindless violence like this has no place on our streets.
“It’s imperative that those responsible for this heinous, callous attack are brought to justice, and I’d urge anyone with information to contact us so that we can do just that.”
A Coventry Police spokesperson said yesterday (January 29): “We are appealing for information after a homeless man was deliberately burnt sometime between 10pm on Saturday, January 26 and the early hours of Sunday, January 27.
“If you saw any suspicious behaviour in the area that night, get in touch with police.”
Coventry City Council estimates show there could be more than 20 people sleeping on city streets on any given night.
Homelessness charity Crisis says people sleeping rough are almost 17 times more likely to be victims of violence.
It also found rough sleeping has risen by more than two thirds in the West Midlands since 2010.
A fundraising page has been set up to raise £500 to support the man in his recovery.
On her GoFundMe page, Abbie Davies, a support worker at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, wrote: “I know some of the people of Coventry would love to help him in his recovery and show him that not everyone is evil and that people can be kind.
“I’m sure his faith in humanity is really low right now. This has really affected me and made me angry!”
Chief executive of homelessness charity Coventry Cyrenians Mike Fowler said: “It says so much about attitudes to rough sleepers.
“When something like this happens, it shows some people still feel rough sleepers are lesser people – and that somehow this sort of behaviour is acceptable.”
If you have information contact police via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk between 8am and midnight, call 101 anytime or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Quote crime reference 20CV/22158U/19.
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