Compassionate country or damn cruel country?

This young man died sleeping rough on a freezing night in Manchester city centre – he was just 25

John Scott Wrench, originally from Bolton, was tragically found dead in the doorway of M&S on the morning of 1 February

BySteve Robson

11 Feb 2021

John Wrench, 25, died while sleeping rough on Market Street, Manchester city centre (Image: Family Handout)

This is John Wrench – a young man who died sleeping rough in the doorway of M&S in Manchester city centre aged just 25.

Greater Manchester Police said officers were called at around 8.15am on the morning of Monday, 1 February to reports of concern for the welfare of a person off Market Street.

Emergency services attended but sadly a young man was declared dead at the scene.

There are no suspicious circumstances and a file is being passed to Manchester’s coroner.

The man can today be identified as John Scott Wrench, originally from Bolton.

A shrine of flowers, candles and tributes to John has appeared at the spot where he died.

‘When I heard he was gone I couldn’t believe it’

Jim Hutton from Mad Dogs Homeless Project, a charity that supports people sleeping rough in the city centre, told how he had given John some hot food the night before the tragedy.

“I saw him on the Sunday night and gave him some sausage and mash,” said Jim.

“When I heard he was gone I couldn’t believe it. His family are devastated.”

John was one of five siblings and was believed to have been a ‘relatively fit young man’ before he died

He had a learning disability but no known health conditions, his family said.

Tributes left at the spot where John died on 1 Feb (Image: MEN Media)

According to Jim, the family have been told a post-mortem examination to establish a cause of death was inconclusive.

John was sleeping outside on a bitterly cold night when temperatures were forecast to dip to minus 3 and heavy snow was due to hit parts of Greater Manchester.

Posting about the death on the Mad Dogs Facebook page, Jim added: “Shocking that a relatively fit young man who had been rough sleeping for a short time could be found dead.”

After speaking with John’s sister, Jim said the young man had been struggling since the death of his mother two years ago.


John, known for his passion for Man United and the rapper Eminem, had a difficult upbringing, his family said.

“John and his siblings didn’t have a great start in life and were brought up in what we would now term ‘extreme poverty’,” said Jim.

“It was caused in the main to a parent suffering severe mental health problems which impacted the family and as a result they were deprived of a lifestyle and upbringing many of us take for granted.

“John attended Woodside school in Bolton, a school for children with special needs.

“The family lost mum just over two years ago and this has played a part in causing John to go off the rails.”

Mad Dogs has agreed to help cover the cost of the funeral for John and is asking for donations.

You can support the charity here.

Jim Hutton from Mad Dogs Homeless Project talking to rough sleepers in Manchester city centre (Image: Mad Dogs Homeless Project)

Homeless services face £2.3million budget cut

A GMP spokesperson said: “At around 8.15am on Monday 1 February 2021, police received a report of concern for the welfare of a person off Market Street, Manchester City Centre.

“Emergency services attended and a man was sadly found deceased.

“There are believed to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.”

A spokesperson for Manchester’s coroner’s office confirmed they are aware of John’s death but confirmed no further details.

During the recent cold spell, Manchester’s emergency cold weather provision kicked in which offers anyone sleeping rough a bed for the night.

At this stage, it is not known whether John had been offered a place to stay the night before he died.

However, his death comes as Manchester Council met on Wednesday to discuss its proposals for saving £2.3million from the homelessness services budget.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left a £50m hole in the authority’s finances.

A report sent to the Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny committee yesterday said 277 people sleeping rough have been accommodated during the pandemic as part of the ‘Everyone In’ programme.

This has already cost the council around £7million.

There are concerns that the pandemic will lead to an increase in homelessness in Greater Manchester (Image: Joel Goodman)

And the authority fears homelessness is likely to increase this year due to the economic effects of the crisis and the eventual lifting of the evictions ban.

The total number of people presenting as homeless to Manchester Council in 2019/20 was 9,840, 21 per cent higher than in the previous year.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, presentations from April to December 2020 were 6,766, the report said.

Manchester is facing ‘continually escalating demand’ which is placing ‘critical and constant pressure on the system’.

This is due to the continually growing imbalance between need and the availability of affordable solutions to meet this,” the report adds.

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The proposals for making £2.3m of savings include a £1.4million cut from the project cost of hotel accommodation.

The report says this will be achieved by moving rough sleepers ‘into more permanent accommodation ensuring residents do not return to the streets.’

Another proposal is to reduce the A Bed Every Night (ABEN) provision in Manchester by approximately 39 beds.

“These beds costing £706,000 will be funded instead via the mainstream investment, as a result this should not be seen as a ‘loss’ of ABEN provision to the overall programme, but an outcome of continued integration into local systems to meet the specific makeup of local demand,” the report says.

Other cuts relate to a reduction in commissioning services and management posts that were due to be recruited.



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Published by technofiend1

Kazan- Kazan National Research Technical University Казанский национальный исследовательский технический университет имени А. Н. Туполева he graduated in Economics in 1982

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