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Ring road tramp Fred dies

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The tramp who has famously lived in a tent on Wolverhampton's ring road for more than 30 years has died. The tramp who has famously lived in a tent on Wolverhampton's ring road for more than 30 years has died. The body of 87-year-old Josef Stawinoga, who was affectionately known in the city as Fred, was discovered just before 5pm yesterday. A police cordon was placed around his green tent on Ring Road St John's and officers today confirmed his death was not being treated as suspicious. It is not known who made the grim discovery. Council leader Roger Lawrence described it as "very sad news". "Mr Stawinoga was someone the community took to their hearts and provided with a lot of support, even though it was extremely difficult given his circumstances and background," he said. Read the full story in the Express & Star.

The tramp who has famously lived in a tent on Wolverhampton's ring road for more than 30 years has died.

The body of 87-year-old Josef Stawinoga, who was affectionately known in the city as Fred, was discovered just before 5pm yesterday.

See Fred's life in pictures.

A police cordon was placed around his green tent on Ring Road St John's and officers today confirmed his death was not being treated as suspicious. It is not known who made the grim discovery.

Council leader Roger Lawrence described it as "very sad news".

"Mr Stawinoga was someone the community took to their hearts and provided with a lot of support, even though it was extremely difficult given his circumstances and background," he said.

"He gained everyone's respect and the city's social services supported him in a way that was sensitive to his wishes. It did attract criticism from outside the city but we did not treat him as a social problem."

Fred, originally from Poland, has been a legendary figure of Wolverhampton since he opted to live under canvas, where drivers often saw him sweeping up leaves around his tent. Wolverhampton City Council's Meals on Wheels service visited him every day while worshippers at the nearby Hindu Shree Krishna Mandir Temple also regularly brought him Indian food and pizza.

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Few facts were known about him, but he was thought to have been detained in a Russian prison camp during the Second World War and came to Wolverhampton in the 1950s.

He worked at Stewarts and Lloyds steelworks in Bilston but one day did not turn up to work. The next his colleagues knew he was pushing a pram with all his possessions and had grown an ankle-length beard.

Police spokeswoman Joanne Hunt confirmed early indications showed Fred's death was not suspicious.

West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman John Hawker said crews received a 999 call to the central reservation at 4.53pm and pronounced a man dead at the scene.

Only last month he became a hit around the world after an internet fan club was set up in his honour, attracting more than 6,600 members.

l Visit www.expressandstar.com to see a video tribute to Fred.

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