SAFETY: Mark Ellis from Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre has been trying to make the streets safer for the homeless for 14 years. PHOTO: John McCutcheon
SAFETY: Mark Ellis from Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre has been trying to make the streets safer for the homeless for 14 years. PHOTO: John McCutcheon

’An easy target’: Homeless man’s murder sparks street fears

>> Homeless man murdered in 'cowardly' attack

>> What happened next? Murder victim's last moments

THE murder of a homeless man in Maroochydore has brought the safety of Sunshine Coast streets back into the spotlight.

Curled up in a sleeping bag, largely away from public view, a homeless man thought he had found a safe place to rest.

But his body was found at Millwell Rd Community Centre early Monday morning.

David Collin, 53, is now a part of a "shocking" statistic that is making more than just the homeless feel unsafe on the streets.

Detectives described Mr Collin's murder as "a very cowardly attack on a vulnerable person" and revealed the victim died from severe head injuries.

Mark Ellis, a community development co-ordinator from the Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre, knew David well and was saddened by the death of a man he considered his friend.

But he said he was not "shocked" upon hearing a homeless person had died in such circumstances.

"There's been five deaths in the last three years," Mr Ellis said.

"We lost three from complications with the flu, and one from kidney failure, David has been the first to have been killed on our streets."

He said he had been advocating for all tiers of government to make changes that would allow the Coast's homeless be seen as "human beings and not pests".

"If there had been housing, or services in place, then we wouldn't be here talking about a homeless man that has been killed," Mr Ellis said.

"David could've been somewhere safe, it's a very dangerous place out there.

Mark Wadeson, a former homeless man who often stayed within the Maroochydore area, said he was not surprised by David's death.

"David found a place, far from the public where it was dark and no one could see him," he said.

"But this also made him an easy target."

Mr Wadeson said the places he stayed were well lit and visible to nearby residents, ensuring her remained safe.

"I stayed at the Maroochy Rugby club, all the neighbouring apartment blocks saw me there, and it was a place where it something went wrong then it would be noticed," he said.

"They didn't like me there, but it was where I could have a few hours sleep and then move on to not get in anyone's way."

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Mr Wadeson said he was not happy about the lack of action from government agencies to make the Coast's streets safer.

"They move these homeless people on, pushing them further from their known safe areas," he said.

"Moving them on is a horrific business for everyone involved, its incredibly degrading for the homeless, and potentially dangerous for the ranger, there are homeless known to have items to defend themselves, so spooking them at 3am isn't a safe option."

Mr Wadeson admits he has been left disheartened how the homeless are generally treated by the public and council.

"Stray animals get better treatment that the homeless, " he said.

"With a stray dog or cat, they get brought in, be looked over and given a nice meal before being rehomed.

"While if you're a homeless person, they just tell you to move on, like you're not worth their time."

A Sunshine Coast Council representative said its staff were also sympathetic to the needs of the homeless.

"Council will continue to advocate to the state and federal Governments to provide the required services to the homeless in our community."