A homeless man who made headlines across the world after he was found living in a public toilet in the West of Ireland has died.
Josef Pavelka, a 52-year-old alcoholic originally from the Czech Republic, was found dead in a laneway in Ennis, Co. Clare, at the weekend.
He was one of two homeless men living in a public toilet in the street. Their story touched the nation but now police fear public kindness may have contributed to his death.
Pavelka had been offered emergency accommodation in Galway after he made the news last month but he had returned to living rough in Ennis last week.
The Irish Sun reports that his death occurred just three days after Judge Patrick Durcan said at Ennis District Court that Josef, who was before him on public order charges, had attained ‘celebrity status; in Ennis.
Judge Durcan had earlier described the living conditions endured by the two men in the Ennis toilet as a ‘scandal’.
Police Inspector Tom Kennedy told the paper that one theory detectives are working on is that Josef may have choked to death on food as he used to rummage for discarded takeaways in the lane.
Kennedy said: “Obviously, his overall health was poor due to his chronic addiction to alcohol.
“Josef’s drinking had increased since his return from Galway. People were more aware of Josef’s plight and were much more friendly towards him, giving him money - but that only increased his resources for drinking and that was not good for him.”
Josef’s friend and homeless companion, Polish national Piotr Baram, 35, told the Irish Sun: “I am very sad. I have cried all night. I have lost my best friend.”