Tragic death of Swindon man found at recycling plant not down to foul play

This Is Wiltshire: Matthew Symonds Matthew Symonds

HOMELESS Matthew Symonds was not attacked in the hours leading up to his death last week, when his remains were pulled from an Avonmouth waste unit.

The body of the 34-year-old former Headlands School pupil was put through a preliminary post-mortem examination yesterday and early results have all but ruled out foul play.

Detectives have pinpointed where the waste Mr Symonds was transported in had come from in Swindon, but are refusing to reveal more than it was at a business in the town.

Wiltshire Police are also investigating the likelihood Mr Symonds had been sleeping in a skip before he was transported to the Biffa depot.

Biffa itself has said staff are trained to look for people sleeping in bins.

Full post-mortem results are still required to determine an exact cause of death for Mr Symonds, but police continue to make inquiries around Swindon in the meantime.

Senior investigating officer DCI Gareth Bevan said: “The team have carried out a large amount of inquiries over the weekend and so far there is no indication that Mr Symonds was assaulted.

“The investigation is ongoing and we continue to keep an open mind about the circumstances of his death.”

Biffa declined to comment on the specifics of the case involving Mr Symonds but it did describe the checks on waste it has in place.

Tim Standring, Biffa’s divisional safety, health, environment and quality coach, said: “All Biffa staff engaged with emptying containers are trained to look for rough sleepers.

“This includes checking underneath cardboard in containers where people may be sheltering.

“We are also putting warning stickers on bins to discourage people from climbing inside a bin for shelter.

“Biffa has a range of measures to raise awareness amongst staff, including a DVD, the Toolbox Talks programme and a poster campaign, as well as staff induction processes.”

Biffa released figures in February which revealed 16 per cent of people found sleeping in bins are only discovered when they are tipped out.

Avon & Somerset Police were called to the Biffa depot in St Andrew’s Road, Avonmouth, at 11.30am on Friday after staff were concerned at what they thought were human remains in one of their units.

Mr Symonds’ family is being supported by family liaison officers from Wiltshire Police.

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