A homeless charity investigating claims that a homeless woman had a bucket of water thrown over her has said the allegations are not true.
A local volunteer group initially said helpers could “hear her shivering and her teeth chattering” while she tried to sleep behind a shop in Northampton town centre over the weekend after being doused with water.
“Underneath this bedding is a very poorly and very cold young lady,” Northants Street Angels wrote on their Facebook page alongside an image of the scene.
“Some vile excuse of a human decided to pour a bucket of cold water all over her,” the Facebook post said. “As we worked in the cold tonight we could literally hear her shivering and her teeth chattering in the freezing temperatures out there. How could anyone do such an abhorrent thing?!”
The message was shared thousands of times by concerned well-wishers, who branded the incident “heartless” and “sick”.
A fundraising page was also set up by Northants Street Angels, raising more than £800 for the woman, known only as Angel, to stay in a hotel for a “few extra nights”.
But the charity later issued a clarification to their initial post, saying "the allegation wasn’t quite true" and suggested it may have been a "cry for help" due to "desperation after an unfortunate catalogue of circumstances".
In a Facebook post Northants Street Angels added: "Obviously the original fund was set up to help get this lady off the street...but until we can speak with her we don’t know what she would like to do."
They added that the owner of the doorway where she had been sleeping had "done nothing wrong and as far as we can gather there was no bucket of water involved".
Northamptonshire Police said the incident had not been reported to them.
This article was amended on 16 February to reflect an update provided by the Northants Street Angels.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies