Friend’s tribute to man found dead on Doncaster river bank

Police cars at Friars Gate in Doncaster town centre.
Police cars at Friars Gate in Doncaster town centre.
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Tributes have been paid to a man found dead on a Doncaster town centre river bank.

The body of the man, who has been named on social media as Jason Taylor, was discovered by police officers alongside the River Don on Tuesday afternoon.

There are no suspicious circumstances surrouding the death of the man, who has not yet been formally identified by police.

Now one of Mr Taylor’s friends has paid tribute to him.

Gareth Gardner, who had known Mr Taylor for four years said: “To hear the news was such a big shock. It has upset me and my partner a lot because we did a lot to help him.

“He was a really good guy and a very sociable person. He was known by a lot of people.”

He said that Mr Taylor, who is understood to be in his 40s, was homeless and had experienced a number of health problems in recent years.

Mr Gardner said that he and his partner Gemma Bissell had struck up a “very close” friendship with Mr Taylor several years ago.

“We helped him find accommodation, helped him with his problems,” he said. “We tried to keep him away from the wrong kind of people.”

“I just want to pass on my condolences to us family and show that there were some good people out there trying to help him.”

Police were called to a spot near to Friars Gate at the rear of the Tesco Church View supermarket and Doncaster Minster on Tuesday afternoon at around 4pm.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Emergency services were called at around 4pm on Tuesday 24 March to the River Don near Doncaster town centre, where the body of a man was discovered on the riverbanks.

“The death is being treated as unexplained at this time but police do not believe there to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Three men were arrested in connection with the death but have now been released.

The man, believed to be in his 40s, has not been formally identified and a post mortem examination has not yet taken place.

Five patrol cars and an ambulance attended at the scene.

The bridge over the River Don Navigation canal, which leads to the Marshgate Network Rail depot was a hive of police activity but officers at the scene would not confirm the nature of the incident.

However, the road was not sealed off and workers and shoppers making their way to nearby car parks were able to go about their business as normal.
Several police officers could be seen on the banks of the canal while two vehicles also appeared to be hemmed in by the police vehicles.

It is not clear whether the vehicles were connected to the incident.

Enquiries are continuing.