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Inquest to open on journalist who died sleeping rough

An inquest is due to open today into the death of a regional culture magazine editor who died while filming a documentary about sleeping rough.

Lee Halpin, 27, was found dead in a boarded-up hostel in Newcastle last Wednesday after attempting to see first-hand what life was like for those sleeping on the streets.

It was feared he may have developed hypothermia as temperatures dipped below -4C.

Two men have since been arrested in connection with the death on suspicion of supplying controlled drugs.  They have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

Lee, a former creative writing MA student at Newcastle University, was a founding editor of regional culture magazine Novel, which covers entertainment including theatre, exhibitions, music, launch parties and other cultural news.

He had also had his own show on Radio Tyneside, called The Weekend Starts Here, for almost a year.

In his last Tweet – on Easter Sunday at 11.05am – Lee asked his followers: “If anyone has got an old phone I can have for a week, I’d be very grateful.”

A tribute piece has been published by Newcastle daily the Chronicle, including comments from a friend on Twitter which described him as “a great advocate for the North East arts scene”.

Long-time friend Daniel Lake said: “I was just talking to Lee on Saturday, having some banter talking about football and how excited he was about going out filming.

“Lee was a great guy, a character and was well known. His big things were creative writing and poetry. He was making a documentary about homeless people living in Newcastle’s West End.

“No one knows how he passed away, but we think it could have been hypothermia. He made the ultimate sacrifice trying to raise awareness about what was happening to other people.”

Novel, which has published five editions to date, describes itself as “fighting to create opportunities for the aspiring writers and artists of the North-East.”

The latest edition of Novel magazine, which covers entertainment and culture in the North East