April 05, 2013

Man freezes to death on day 3 of trying to live as the homeless do

Friends believed that Lee Halpin, 26, who was discovered in a boarded up hostel on Wednesday morning, may have succumbed to hypothermia as temperatures reached as low as -4C overnight in the city.
But yesterday, detectives investigating Mr Halpin's death arrested a 26-year-old and a 30-year-old on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs.
A Northumbria police spokesman said the men had been bailed pending further inquiries and that a report was being prepared for the coroner.
Mr Halpin, a Newcastle University graduate, had planned to spend a week experiencing life on the streets and on Sunday, the night before he embarked on the project, he made a video in which he said he wanted to "immerse himself" in the lifestyle.
However the Newcastle University graduate also spoke about how it had caused "trepidation" among his friends and family.
"I am about to go and spend a week being homeless in the West End of Newcastle," he said.
"I will sleep rough, scrounge for my food, access all the services that other homeless individuals in the West End use. I will interact with as many homeless people as possible and immerse myself in that lifestyle as deeply as I can."
In the clip, Mr Halpin said he was producing the documentary as part of an application for a position on an Channel 4 investigative journalism programme.
He said: "I hope that you perceive this to be a fearless approach to a story. "It certainly feels brave from where I’m sat right now.
"I am about to embark upon this documentary tomorrow morning. It has certainly caused a huge amount of trepidation amongst my family and friends who do think it is a brave thing to do. That is the impression I want to leave you with about my willingness to get to the heart of a story."
Mr Halpin, who studied creative writing, regularly appeared on a local radio and founded a magazine, Novel, which covered arts and culture in the city.
On Sunday, he posted a message on twitter, the social networking site, asking his followers if anyone had a sleeping bag he could borrow.
Friend Daniel Lake told the Newcastle Chronicle that he had spoken to him on Saturday.
“Lee was a great guy, a character and was well known," he said.
"His big things were creative writing and poetry. He was making a documentary about homeless people living in Newcastle’s West End.
“No one knows how he passed away, but we think it could have been hypothermia. He made the ultimate sacrifice trying to raise awareness about what was happening to other people.”
Other friends have also paid tribute to Mr Halpin, who lived in Newcastle with his family, online.
Dean Sowden said: "Lee was a prominent figure in my life. I remember him as a caring and passionate young man who always had time for me on a personal level, he always had the right suggestions that got me over some dark times.
"I miss him terribly but I will always remember his wit, his smile, his hope that things will get better and, on a lighter note, his dress sense - boy could that lad dress himself accordingly."
Jeff Wilson said: "I met Lee when he was studying the documentary film module at Newcastle University. Great guy with a massive yearning to learn, a ready smile and a generous nature. I’m stunned. He’ll be sorely missed."
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said the body of a man believed to be in his 20s was found in a derelict building on Westgate Road at 9.50am on Wednesday.
A post-mortem examination has not yet been carried out. An inquest into his death is due to open on Tuesday.


  1. Sad to hear it. I wonder if the journalist had ever before slept outside with only a bag and tarp or less in below freezing conditions. You really are taking your life in your hands doing that.

  2. Sad to lose such a compassionate and caring young man. Homelessness is hazardous at best, even in the warmer months. The homeless can be assaulted, battered, and killed with impunity. They are very vulnerable. Daniel might have done a bit more research on how to survive a cold snap and maybe consulted the experts at homelessness, the ones who don't have a way out, who aren't always brilliant and charming university graduate like young Daniel. Nevertheless it was obviously his unusual empathy that led him to take the risk.

  3. Expensive slumming

  4. holy shit,they are going to kill us all!

    1. are u high? what are u talking about?

  5. Frozen chosen...

  6. should have waited a couple months. its very sad but hell I did it and had a great time. guess everybody cant make it. terrible story.

  7. Sorry, but, what a dumb ass.

    This is like when Pat Tillman left the NFL to join the Army and got assassinated by his own troops.

    This guy should have simply interviewed homeless people, buying them meals in exchange for their stories.

    What a waste of life... Looks like he was a nice guy, worked out and cared too.

  8. First off, lets be clear about one thing. Being homeless is not a 'life-style'. A life style is something you opt for voluntarily, whereas being poor is a condition which imposes and enforces on you and about which you have no choice whatsoever.

    The derelict learns how to cope with poverty and survive against hard odds. The poor learns how to be poor, so to speak. If you launch into the 'life-style' without the proper training of a life experience, this amounts to go climb the Alps without training and experience. The outcome doesn't surprise me and neither the naivete of this well intentioned but stupid young man.

  9. I was homeless at the age of 16 in Cleveland. It is brutal. The cold is what will kill a person if one is not very crafty. Lee Halpin R.I.P.

  10. Was this person the only one living like this found dead in freezing conditions in that area? Or are those who live in those conditions acclimatised?

  11. very sad.. have some compassion ^^^

  12. Notice how in the US, homeless stories only appear when a conservative is in office, but as soon as a liberal takes over, Voila! No more homeless stories-even if homelessness doubles!
    Ah...don't you just love the leftwing biased media?

    1. I've noticed that since the mid 1970s.

  13. "On Sunday, he posted a message on twitter, the social networking site, asking his followers if anyone had a sleeping bag he could borrow."

    Shame that such a well thought out plan ended so tragically. Hopefully he will have now learned his lesson.


  15. I suspect if he had a sleeping bag it was stolen from him.Happens all the time.

  16. Somehow, those who still have jobs and homes feel that they are better than the homeless and conclude that, being superior in mind, they are equipped with all the skills necessary to camp in our nation's alleys.

    They, like the recent stupid hikers in Cali, have no clue how to live outside of a cubicle and condo complex.

    Its not surprising that this self-righteous imbicile froze himself to death- but a homeless man would not normally have become hypothermic - even if the homeless man passed out drunk he would have still kept warm enough to see morning.

  17. This reminds me of the young man who wanted to live out in nature when I was in Alaska. Mother nature has no compassion. She simply does her thing and that can be -80 below zero without the wind chill! He died from exposre as well. You must learn the best you can about any new and unknown environment you feel you are going to try and tackle. If you don't you're odds of surviving in it diminish exponentially. It is a very sad tragedy. in both cases....

  18. This is part of God's divine plan.