A decorator who filmed a homeless man sprayed with paint before he was later found dead has defended his actions – claiming “something had to be done”.
Homeless Michael Cash was spayed with red paint outside Tesco Express in Normanby, Teeside on Sunday.
Aaron Jones filmed the incident and can be heard saying “This is how we deal with beggars on the street”, before chillingly adding: “There he is, sprayed to death.”
Michael was found dead in a nearby cemetery four days later after the video was posted online.
But now Aaron claims he is a victim of a “bad joke gone wrong”, has lost work over the clip and said “it’s not fair”.
He said: “I’ve been caught up in the middle and it’s not fair.
“It was a bad joke gone wrong.
“Me and my family have been receiving death threats from Facebook trolls.
“I was just so angry that he had been there for so long.
“He wasn’t doing himself any favours.
“He chose his life.
“I do feel sorry for him now but in the meantime why didn’t he just move?
“He had been there for three months begging people for money.
“I go in that Tesco Express everyday after work and he would always ask for change in a smarmy way when I was just being polite.
“People who are pointing the finger at me didn’t know his background.
“I recorded it because I wanted to see the residents’ views.
“I had taken it on myself to do right by my community.
“I didn’t know the people who did it but something had to be done.
“It’s not right for young kids and families to see him.
“Now I’ve lost work over this and we’ve got police outside our house to stop people banging on my door.
“Something needs to be done to clear my name. It’s ridiculous.”
Cleveland Police are not linking the spray paint attack with his death, which officers described as ‘not suspicious’.
Flowers and cards have been left at the cemetery as well as at the spot outside the Tesco Express store where Michael, who was in his 30s, used to sit.