Local homeless man dies on Dawlish Road

Despite resuscitation attempts by UOB students, local character Paul died on Saturday evening


A well known homeless man sadly passed away on Saturday evening.

Local legend Paul Cotterell suffered heart failure on Dawlish Road at the weekend. Paul used to spend his time in the bus stop on Dawlish Road, considered ‘Paul’s bus stop’ by many of us.

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Flowers at the scene

Paul was found collapsed at the top of Dawlish Road on Saturday evening by three students and a member of the public, who gave him first aid and tried desperately to perform CPR.

The students flagged down a passing police officer, who continued to perform CPR until the arrival of the ambulance team. Despite numerous attempts by the paramedic team to resuscitate Paul, their efforts were unsuccessful.

Paul was a familiar character in Selly Oak. The last few months of his life were sadly a desperate time for him. He suffered from alcoholism, epilepsy and also diabetes, which had led him to lose part of his fingers in the cold. An ambulance was called for him almost daily by passers-by who would find him collapsed in ‘his’ bus stop.

Paul did not engage in repeated efforts to help him by the local SMART team and other organisations. In the last two years, he was offered permanent housing on two occasions. However, Paul chose to refuse these offers and would sleep rough in local bushes, alleyways or local resident’s sheds. He was thought to suffer from a mental health problem, although this had never been medically diagnosed.

Paul’s death is deeply saddening for the local community.

Many students had grown accustomed to his presence each day and it now very strange to walk past the empty bus stop. He was always polite and friendly, and would never ask students for money although he was grateful for a sandwich or cup of tea. Rest in peace Paul.