A few weeks ago, we heard the tragic news that the new anti-squatting legislation (section 144 of the LASPO bill) had claimed it’s first life. Daniel Gauntlett, a 35 year old homeless man, froze to death in front of an empty, boarded up bungalow in Kent. Reports state that the police prevented him from sheltering in the building by threatening arrest under the new offence of squatting in a residential building. Not wishing to break the law, he gave up hope of getting out of the -2 freeze and bedded down on the porch of the building. As a result, he contracted hypothermia and lost his life. The full article can be read here.
Obviously, this has caused absolute outrage amongst squatters and others who warned the government that vulnerable people would face serious risks if squatting was criminalised. Sadly, those in power did not listen.
Here’s some of the responses to this awful, awful news:
A new website which, quite rightly, points the finger of blame at Mike Weatherly, the morally bankrupt Hove MP who pushed through this inhumane legislation.
Mike Weatherly’s response to claims that he is personally responsible for Daniel Gauntlett’s death can be found here.
SQUASH campaigners wrote an open letter to Weatherly and The Argus to dispel some of the ridiculous misinformation that Weatherly spouts about squatters.
Labour Mp for Hays and Harlington, John Mc Donnell
‘People are being made unnecessarily homeless and very vulnerable people are suffering as a consequence. This legislation was based upon prejudice and has only made matters worse. This new evidence demonstrates so clearly the need to repeal this misguided law.’ John McDonnell MP.
Youtube’s angry taxi driver is reduced to tears in his response.
And finally, a news international blog post here.
Rest in peace Daniel Gauntlett. We will not forget you.