Social Justice

Homeless man set on fire while he slept in 'shocking attack'

The man suffered potentially life-changing injuries to his hands and face after the incident, which took place last week in Birmingham

Police have released CCTV of a man they are searching for. Image: West Midlands Police handout

Police are searching for a suspect and any witnesses after a homeless man was set on fire while sleeping in an underpass in Birmingham.

A man in his 30s suffered potentially life-changing injuries to his hands and face after the attack, which saw his bedding set on fire before being piled on top of him, but is in a stable condition in hospital

The “shocking attack” took place at 9.20am on Tuesday November 7, where Hockley Hill goes over Boulton Middleway, West Midlands Police said.

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A CCTV picture released by the force shows a man riding a scooter with grey trousers, a white hoody, and black gloves.

The man is described as white, 5ft 5in, and wearing a white vest, white hoody, black gloves, grey jogging bottoms, black shoes and wearing chains. Image: West Midlands Police

Gary Ashton, who works at nearby business 5techs Repair, said locals didn’t know what was going on after police were called to the incident.

“We thought it was a car crash, to be honest”, Ashton told The Big Issue. “We couldn’t see anything, they had taped off the sides of the bridge.”

Three police cars and a fire support truck attended the scene, Ashton added, which he said was not a common spot for homeless people.

“They were parked out there all day long,” he said, with a presence still visible when him and his colleagues left their office, on Hockley Hill, at 4.30pm.

 “We know this image isn’t very clear, and we are working to find further CCTV opportunities, but we hope that this image may prompt someone to come forward with information. The man is described as white, 5ft 5in, and wearing a white vest, white hoody, black gloves, grey jogging bottoms, black shoes and wearing chains,” West Midlands Police said in a statement.

“If you can help, please get in touch with investigators via Live Chat on our website or call 101, quoting crime reference 20/972160/23.”

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