Northampton

Kristian Olsteins death: Bid to repatriate musician's body

Kristian Olsteins
Image caption Kristian Olsteins began sleeping rough after losing his passport

Efforts are being made to repatriate the body of a young Lithuanian musician who spent the last years of his life sleeping rough in Northampton.

Kristian Olsteins, 22, spent several weeks at Northampton General Hospital after heart surgery to remove blood clots, but died on 18 February.

Mr Olsteins was a familiar face among the homeless community of the town and was rarely seen without his guitar.

Street chaplain Stan Robertson said a memorial service was also planned.

Mr Olsteins spoke to the BBC in 2016 about his experiences on the streets, saying: "Winter is cold... you sometimes wake up when you are freezing.

"You need to sleep out of the rain."

Image caption Kristian Olsteins had spoken to the BBC about his experiences on the streets

Mr Robertson, who also co-ordinates Project 16:15, which provides hot meals to the homeless in Northampton, said Mr Olsteins was a "pleasant, gentle lad", who was "a victim of the streets, the abuse, the addictions that ripped holes in his life, his dignity".

"You do not expect when your son goes off on his travels at 19, that he won't come home," he said.

Mr Olsteins had come to the UK in 2016 with "a dream to make his name" with his music.

He had arrived to live with his sister but had lost his passport within days and did not alert the authorities over fears he would be deported, Mr Robertson added.

In the BBC interview, Mr Olsteins said: "I came to make a new life. I left Lithuania and my old life. I don't want to go back there."

Image copyright Stan Robertson
Image caption Northampton is home to many rough sleepers

Mr Robertson said the musician had been admitted to hospital last November and underwent surgery in December, but never fully recovered.

"The loss of self-worth was a result of a lifestyle he did not choose, but which chose him," he said.

Money raised from a crowdfunding appeal will now be donated to his family in Lithuania, with plans to repatriate his body in the coming days.

Mr Robertson estimated than there are currently more than 40 young Eastern European nationals sleeping rough in Northampton.

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