Northampton

Northampton man's sister 'sleeps rough' in his memory

Chris Matthews at Northampton Town Image copyright Fleur Matthews
Image caption Chris Matthews (centre) with his sister Fleur (third from left) and brother Aaron (right) at a Northampton Town game

The sister of a murdered homeless man has spent the night on the streets of Northampton to raise awareness of the plight of the town's rough sleepers.

Fleur Matthews' brother Chris, 42, was stabbed to death in June 2018 as he sought help to overcome drink and drug problems.

Ms Matthews is raising money for Project 16:15, which delivers hot breakfasts to the homeless community.

She described her brother as "an amazing character".

Mr Matthews, a married father-of-three, developed problems with drink and drugs in 2016 but was a "happy, positive" and "much-loved" man, his family said.

Image copyright Fleur Matthews
Image caption Members of Northampton's homeless community attended Chris Matthews' funeral

He had been staying at a shared house for recovering addicts in Victoria Gardens but had taken to sleeping rough because he was afraid of another resident.

Spencer Hobson, 50, was jailed for life in November 2018 for Mr Matthews' "senseless" and "brutal" killing.

Ms Matthews said her brother's death "leaves a massive hole in our lives".

"He was an amazing character," she said. "When Chris's marriage broke down, he had a few issues. He was drinking. He found himself on the streets.

"It makes you realise the sort of things people go through in life."

Image copyright Stan Robertson
Image caption Northampton's Abington Street is home to many rough sleepers

A crowdfunding campaign supporting her night is close to raising its £5,000 target to buy a tuk tuk to deliver hot meals to the homeless in Northampton.

Project 16:15 co-ordinator Stan Robertson said Mr Matthews was "a gentleman" who had "kept himself to himself".

"Every day is dangerous on the streets, for everybody," he said.

"The guys out there spend every day trying to find somewhere safe for the night. They are afraid of being attacked all the time."

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