A homeless man in Liverpool, England, was poisoned with arsenic this past Sunday, April 7. After awaking in a hospital and being told he had ingested poison, he believes he was poisoned by a man who had given him a plate of chips (french fries).
What would posses someone to want to poison a homeless by giving him chips laced with arsenic? https://t.co/TcpLt5z37x via @MetroUK— Time For The Homeless (@Time For The Homeless) 1554836047.0
Police are now investigating the poisoning, which the homeless man, in his 30's, says took place at the Liverpool city center. The incident was described Michelle Langan, who regularly encounters the man through her work as an outreach worker with The Papercup Project, an organization which "takes food and drink to rough sleepers across Liverpool."
"He said he woke up in hospital today and they told him he had arsenic in his system – someone had sprinkled it on the chips, he reckoned."
What an evil bastard https://t.co/6blhltjPSL— irisheyesmiles (@irisheyesmiles) 1554906249.0
Though Langan has witnessed acts of violence against the homeless community before, she says this attack feels different:
"I'm shocked to be honest – in all the years we have heard some horrible stuff, but this seems more calculated and evil. I'm just glad he was OK – it could have been a horrible ending to the story."
Wtf is wrong with people!!!! https://t.co/cff42cdnOz https://t.co/aoYlgRHq8Z— My Mission Brighton (@My Mission Brighton) 1554915180.0
How low have some ‘humans’ sunk in life? 😥 https://t.co/2xrJ7cfGhJ— Vivek Khashu (@Vivek Khashu) 1554914479.0
Though a deliberate poisoning represents a significant escalation of a prevalent trend, Liverpool's Crisis director of police Matt Downie made it clear that violence against homeless people is a consistent problem:
"For anyone sleeping on the street, life can be a struggle just to survive. Rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence and 15 times more likely to suffer abuse."
Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, has joined in the call for parliament to classify violence against homeless people as a hate crime, reaching out to Home Secretary Sajid Javid after regularly hearing reports of homeless individuals being "being beaten, urinated on and sexually assaulted."
How awful is this.... Who could do such a thing.......... https://t.co/QZp0VXYPkL— Humanity (@Humanity) 1554886544.0
@DailyMirror It should be a hate crime. I was homeless for five years but stayed out of public view.— Charlie Boy (@Charlie Boy) 1554820110.0
This is absolutely disgusting. I'm fuming reading this, a homeless man was poisoned with arsenic by someone who gav… https://t.co/Bvspg2qX2O— Nathan Harmer (@Nathan Harmer) 1554870202.0
In 2018, the charity Crisis reported that "one in three homeless people were deliberately hit, kicked or experience another form of violence" while "one in 20 rough sleepers were the victims of sexual assault."
From @hereandnow: Once on their own, homeless LGBTQ youth are 7 times more likely to be victims of crime and to suf… https://t.co/89tpMVSP2w— NPR (@NPR) 1530055500.0
@NPR @hereandnow We must become a kinder nation stop the bullying discrimination violence and hate we must learn acceptance— Diane M Fairbanks (@Diane M Fairbanks) 1530055871.0
Are you serious?? People are just sick! https://t.co/Vwd2uNZgBY— Kelly Johnson (@Kelly Johnson) 1554839967.0
https://t.co/cL5AwdboGS can you believe the disgusting mentality of anyone who could do this to a homeless person… https://t.co/oDi5WedqzY— Isobel (@Isobel) 1554830916.0
Downie hopes long-term steps will be taken to help this suffering population of people:
"In the short term, it's vital that the victims of these disproportionately frequent attacks feel able to approach the authorities for support. 'But ultimately, they must also be given the dedicated help they need to leave the streets behind for good."