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Maidstone rough sleeper Dermot Mulligan died of alcohol toxicity

By William Janes

The friend of a homeless man who died on the steps of a bank just feet from passing commuters feels his death was a tragic waste.

Dermot Mulligan was found unresponsive in the doorway of RBS in Jubilee Square, Maidstone in July.

Paramedics attended after being called by bank staff but the 56-year-old was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Dermot Mulligan had been living on the streets of Maidstone for a year before his death
Dermot Mulligan had been living on the streets of Maidstone for a year before his death

An inquest held at Archbishops Palace in Mill Street today revealed that the Knighstbridge born rough sleeper had a blood alcohol level four times the drink drive limit at 339mg per 100 ml of blood - an amount known to cause coma.

A post mortem report concluded that ongoing alcohol abuse, alcoholic liver and heart problems increased its toxic potential causing his death.

Following the inquest, a friend of Mr Mulligan, Brian Smith-Lowther who volunteers for Maidstone Winter Shelters, spoke about the man he describes as "like a brother."

"It just seems a shame. A waste of life," he said.

"He was pulling himself together. He had straightened himself out and was exceptionally clean at the end because he wanted to come off the drink and settle down to have a normal life."

An inquest at archbishops palace concluded that the rough sleeper had died from alcohol toxicity
An inquest at archbishops palace concluded that the rough sleeper had died from alcohol toxicity

A statement from a PCSO read at the hearing stated that Mr Mulligan was looking tidy and smart, was drinking coffee, and appeared to be sober in the morning the day before his death.

However, he was later seen several times drinking alcohol and sitting in doorways.

While very little was known to the authorities about Mr Mulligan's past, the 71-year-old friend told of how the homeless man had travelled the entirety of Britain finding piecemeal work to support himself. Of all the places he visited he loved Blackpool the most.

"He was basically a man of the road - what people would have called a tramp. He would travel from village to village and town to town doing odd jobs for money," said Mr Smith-Lowther.

A funeral held at Vinters Park Crematorium in October was attended by around 35 people, largely members of The County Town's homeless community.

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