A FAMILY have spoken of their heartbreak after discovering that a long-lost relative was found dead in a tent in Worcester – and his 94-year-old mum still doesn't know he has passed away because they fear the news will be too devastating.

Cardon Banfield, who was homeless, was found dead in a tent near Worcestershire County Cricket Club in Worcester on July 5 last year.

The 74-year-old's body was so badly decomposed he had to be identified from his DNA when he was discovered in a tent pitched by a footpath running alongside the river and Severn Bridge car park.

At an inquest into his death held in Stourport last October, Mr Banfield was described as having 'no next of kin' even though several members of his family, including his mother, sister and niece, are still alive.

He had simply lost touch with them after he left the Caribbean where he was born and letters sent to him at his last known addresses in London came back unopened.

His niece, Faith Felix, has since been in contact with the Worcester News to say Mr Banfield's family in the Caribbean did not even know he had died and are saddened more was not done to find them after he passed away.

The coroner, his staff and a Worcester News reporter were the only people to attend Mr Banfield's inquest last October, with his family unaware of the proceedings.

Thanks to his family we are now able to publish a portrait of Mr Banfield for the first time, pictured with his wife Sylvia.

Ms Felix, 48, who lives in Trinidad, said: "Seeing my mother and grandmother crying and talking about him as I got older, I decided to look for our family members.

"I tried Red Cross and any site that will search for missing persons including ancestry.com.

"I looked up records in the UK for deaths and any news that would link me to him. I came up empty handed all the time.

"On August 24, while I was on vacation, I received an email from Yasni.co.uk [a search service]. I was really sad that my search ended in finding him dead, I would have given anything to see him or talk to him, for him to meet his mother and siblings to hear his story."

Mr Banfield's death shocked Worcester and sparked a high profile drive for better services for homeless people by campaigner Hugo Sugg.

Ms Felix said: "I contacted Hugo Sugg through the [Worcester News] articles sent from the Yasni.co.uk email. That's how the story developed.

"We wanted to come to the UK on more than one occasion but with nowhere to go or stay and the expense of the trip, we couldn't.

"Besides Hugo and [the Worcester News] I haven't heard from anyone else.

"The way he died was very disturbing and sad. I wish they had tried harder to find his family but I don't know what information he gave or if he was ever asked.

"We have not told my grandmother [Mr Banfield's mother] anything yet, for fear of grief. I hope I can muster the will to tell her before she dies.

"But we want everyone to know, he has family and was never forgotten and will live on in the hearts of the family.

"We are planning a mass for him at church and to always remember him on the day he died through a memorial."

Details have also emerged about Mr Banfield's life which had not previously been known in the UK, thanks to his family.

Cardon Gideon Banfield was the first born of eight children of Doris Fatiana Banfield.

His mother Doris Banfield, aged 94, still lives in Trinidad with her daughter, Judy Banfield.

Ms Felix said: "They said he liked fishing. It was around 1960 where he left St Vincent for the first time for the UK on the vessel 'The Geese', a ship used to transport bananas, with his cousin Frankie Mascoll.

"On his second trip to the UK he met his aunt Olga Banfield. She married to Abraham Ali and changed her name to Fatima Ali. The captain of the ship signed him off so he stayed in the UK. He said he was staying to make himself a better life, that was 1961.

"He got married to a Jewish lady by the name of Sylvia and they had a son named Richard."

The last addresses the family had for Mr Banfield were in Stephanie Way, London and Redlesham Road, Hackney.

Mrs Felix added: "I have sent registered letters to these addresses over the years, all came back unknown. We never knew what happened to Fatima 'Olga' Ali. She used to write to another sister Louise, and when she died we did not know what happened. Frankie Mascoll went back to St Vincent where he died."

Homelessness campaigner Hugo Sugg, 27, of London, who organised a vigil to mark the anniversary of the discovery of Mr Banfield's body, said it was a 'pleasant shock' when his family got in touch with him.

Mr Sugg, who used to live in Worcester, said: "The campaign has been out to get justice for Cardon and his family. We have to remember that this family is now grieving for loss of a brother, son, uncle and husband and they deserve peace at this time."

"Through Hugo's Earthquake we have managed to send a seismic shockwave to the Caribbean, where Cardon's close family reside.

"For the ones in authority who let Cardon down in the months running up to his discovery, including Worcester City Council.

"I hope his family's grief pricks your conscience so much that you will now come out from the shadows you've been hiding in and finally make yourself, and your organisation, accountable.

"I promise we will get justice and today I'm proud to say, this is one step closer."

Worcestershire coroner Geraint Williams said some of the personal possessions found in the tent indicated that the body was that of Cardon Banfield but it took a DNA test for this to be confirmed.

Mr Banfield was born on June 11, 1942 in Saint Vincent in the Caribbean.

The coroner recorded an open conclusion at last October's inquest as the exact cause of death was not clear.