A homeless woman in a wheelchair was found dead outside a shop in the centre of Leeds.
Police were called to House of Fraser on Briggate just before 8am on Thursday to reports of a disabled woman found unresponsive and unconscious. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Matthew Nice, from the St George’s Crypt homeless support charity, said: “It’s tragic what’s happened for all of the people who knew her.”
Nice said the woman was known to them as Sasha and was in her 50s.
He added Sasha had access to all of the support services available in Leeds, but there was a “complicated mix” of issues around why some homeless people do not reach out when they are most in need.
Almost 600 homeless people died on the streets of England and Wales last year, a 24% increase over five years.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said the death was not being treated as suspicious and the matter had been passed to the coroner.
Scott Hastings, who sleeps rough and knew Sasha, told the Mirror: “She was a kind, big-hearted woman.
“She was a bit upset last night – she’s been bullied and taken advantage of on the streets. I was sat with her till the early hours of the morning giving her some courage.”
He added that when he returned to the area on Thursday morning, another homeless person was “freaking out”, and told him Sasha was dead.
National homeless charity Crisis estimates there are 170,000 people in the country without a home – double the 2012 number.