Rough sleeper among four deaths linked to sub-zero UK weather

19 November 2019, 19:09

A cyclist in east London during the freezing weather this morning
A cyclist in east London during the freezing weather this morning. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Four people have died as a result of the freezing temperatures that hit the UK last night.

A homeless man and pensioner are understood to have succumbed to the cold, and two pedestrians died on freezing foggy roads in the early hours of this morning.

The homeless man, a rough sleeper known to friends as ‘elephant’ was found dead in a tent in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

A body was found in the search for Helen Maider, 89, who went missing in the cold weather in East Dunbartonshire. She was last see alive at 6am.

A body was found in the search for Helen Maider, 89
A body was found in the search for Helen Maider, 89. Picture: PA

Sergeant Adam Hookway previously said officers and her family were concerned due to the cold weather while Ms Maider has also "started to have issues with her memory".

A statement on Tuesday afternoon confirmed a body had been found during searches of Bishopbriggs but it had not been formally identified.

The statement said: "Police in East Dunbartonshire can confirm a body has been found in the search for missing woman Helen Maider in the Bishopbriggs area.

"Formal identification has yet to be carried out however her family has been informed and the death is not being treated as suspicious."

Temperatures fell across the country on Monday night with the mercury falling to minus 9.9C (14.2F) in Braemar in the north-east.

The Met Office said temperatures are expected to fall again overnight on Tuesday.

Earlier, a pedestrian was hit and thrown across the M4. One hour later, another walker was knocked down and killed on the A34 near Winchester.

Temperatures dropped to nearly minus 10C on Monday night - the coldest of the autumn so far.

According to the Met Office, the mercury fell to minus 9.9C (14.2F) in Braemar, north-east Scotland, on Monday night.

Nine of the 10 coldest locations overnight were north of the border, but the coldest location in England was Redesdale Camp in Northumberland, where the temperature was recorded at minus 7.1c (19.2F).

A yellow weather warning for dense and freezing fog was in place across large parts of England and eastern Wales on Tuesday morning.

During rush-hour, drivers from Brighton to Manchester had to contend with lower visibility and iced-up cars.

Meteorologist Grahame Madge said: "It's going to clear, but it might be stubborn to clear in some places, and then eager to re-form.

"We have weather warnings out until 11am (on Tuesday) but in some places it could persist more than that."

The cold spell has followed a period of persistent and heavy rain for parts of the UK, and the country has already seen more than two-thirds of its average November rainfall.

According to the Met Office, we have already had 68% of the UK's expected monthly rain, and Nottinghamshire has been the wettest county, having had 189% of its average November rainfall by the 17th.

Parts of the Midlands and Yorkshire suffered days of flooding after torrential rain earlier this month, and Sheffield has already had its wettest ever autumn, with 17.4in (440.8mm) of rainfall so far this season.

The previous record of 16.7in (425.2mm) was set in 2000.

On the other hand, western and northern Scotland have had a much drier month, and Shetland had only had 17% of its monthly rainfall by the same point.