Dead homeless man was ex-RAF

IPSWICH: A former RAF serviceman whose body was found in undergrowth was sleeping rough because he decided to cut himself off from family life, an inquest has heard.

IPSWICH: A former RAF serviceman whose body was found in undergrowth was sleeping rough because he decided to cut himself off from family life, an inquest has heard.

The body of homeless Brett Copland was discovered by police officers in undergrowth in Ranelagh Road on Sunday, July 19 this year at about 8am.

An inquest into his death held yesterday heard how the 47-year-old joined the RAF in 1978 and served in tours in Ireland and the Ascension Islands.

When he left in 1990 he slept rough in London before moving to his parents' house in Nacton, where he stayed for 13 months while he tried to find a job.


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However after this time greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said Mr Copland “appeared to walk out on family life”.

On Friday, June 5 this year Pc Verity Pearson and PCSO Lorna Chapman found Mr Copland in woodland in Great Cornard, and were concerned for his welfare.

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PCSO Chapman bought him food and drink before they offered him advice and found him a temporary room at the Chequers Hotel in Ipswich through Babergh District Council's emergency hotline.

The inquest, which was held at Ipswich Police Station, heard that because he had no underlying mental health or medical issues he could not be offered accommodation under homelessness provisions because he was not deemed a priority need.

In recording a narrative verdict Dr Dean said it had not been possible to find a cause of death.

He also praised the two police officers and said he would be writing to Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Simon Ash to commend them for their actions.

“It is clear that they went above and beyond the call of duty,” he said. “It is a very sad situation where a man seems to have cut himself off from a family clearly willing to help and support him.”

Do the authorities do enough to help homeless people? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk .

IPSWICH Borough Council leader Liz Harsant today admitted homelessness was a huge worry but said hard work was taking place behind the scenes to offer advice and support.

Mrs Harsant, who is also a trustee of the Ipswich Umbrella Trust, a charity which is working to help homeless people, said: “We recognise there's a need in Ipswich for a facility which we hope we can provide,” she said. “It is a huge worry for us as a town and every other town.

“We want to try to provide a safe place for people to stay and for professionals to work with those people and try to get them back into main stream living. That's our ambition but its going to take an awful lot of fundraising and hard work.”

A number of charities such as the Salvation Army and the Iceni Project were doing tremendous work to help and that emergency accommodation was available, she added.

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