The sister of a murder victim has launched a project to help homeless people.
Rachel Johnson, of Clinkham Wood, St Helens, was just 10 years old when her sister Sharon Lynch’s body was found in a derelict car park, four weeks after she had been killed 19 years ago aged 22, on Roscoe Street in the city centre.
Her life changed forever the day Sharon was found, but the mum-of-three’s experience has inspired to help others who find themselves in a similar situation to her sister.
Rachel, along with a group of friends, will be heading into St Helens every Sunday and Wednesday evening in order to hand out food, drink, warm clothing and blankets to the people who have nowhere else to go.
Rachel said: “My sister moved to Liverpool from St Helens and she was living in a flat at first but she ended up on drugs, homeless and started getting into prostitution.
“She was sleeping rough on the streets and one of the other homeless men killed my sister on Roscoe Street in Liverpool City Centre.
I see things on Facebook and I think I have to do something about it. I can’t sleep at night for worrying about it so I decided to helpRachel Johnson
“It was in a derelict car park so it was four weeks until they found her body.
“I was 10 years old when she died so there was nothing I could have done to help but it has become a big part of my life.
“I worry about people. I see things on Facebook and I think I have to do something about it. I can’t sleep at night for worrying about it so I decided to help.”
Rachel has already been heading out to meet some of the homeless people the project will be helping.
And after posting on social media, lots of Rachel’s friends have come forward to help and Karen from Toast to Roast cafe in Moss Bank has offered to provide food from them to hand out. The cafe will also act as a drop off point for donations.
She said: “I know a lot of them are on drugs and I know a lot about that as I my sister was but I was talking to a homeless man last night, he is called Tony, and I said I think I’d need to be on drugs if I was on the street, I don’t know how they do it.
“He has just come out of hospital and he has pneumonia. I just want to take him home. There is a younger lad as well who has just come out of jail. He doesn’t have a chance.
“They all keep telling him he will just be in and out of jail but you can’t blame him when it is warm and they get something to eat.
“They do what they can, even going to the retail park and offering to take people’s trolleys back in return for the pound.
“I told Tony I was trying to sort something out and he was so grateful. He is going to spread the word so there should be 10 or 12 homeless people ready to meet us at the train station on Sunday.
“When my sister was on the streets people used to walk past and spit on her and everything.
“She never needed to do that but I think she was so ashamed at her lifestyle that she didn’t want to come home.
“I need to do something. I don’t want anyone to give money, I told Tony not to ask for money but I will give them as much clothing and bedding as he wants. I just want them to feel like they are respected.”