Heartbroken sister of homeless soldier felt ‘helpless’

Darren Greenfield  was ex Army, but was homeless on the streets of Edinburgh for years and had a regular pitch at the top of Waverley steps.
Darren Greenfield was ex Army, but was homeless on the streets of Edinburgh for years and had a regular pitch at the top of Waverley steps.
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The sister of a homeless ex-soldier who died in hospital days before Christmas said she felt ‘helpless’ after he routinely turned down her offer of assistance.

Ex-serviceman Darren Greenfield, 47, was regularly seen asking for change at the top of Waverley Steps after struggling to adapt to civilian life after leaving the army.

Mr Greenfield, known to friends and family as Dan, served with the Royal Tank Regiment in Bosnia during conflict in the 1990s.

He was rushed to hospital on December 17 last year after contracting an infection while sleeping rough on the street, but died later that day.

However his sister, Aston Robertson, said the experience in the Balkans was his “downfall” leaving the former private school pupil with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

READ MORE: Homeless Edinburgh soldier of Waverley Steps dies aged 47

Speaking to BBC Scotland’s Stephen Jardine programme, Aston described Mr Greenfield as her “hero,” adding that he received no help after leaving the forces.

She said: “I feel the damage was already done, if he had got help in the beginning it would have been a lot better.”

“It was heart-breaking, I felt helpless. I felt like I could not do anything.”

Ms Robertson told how she and her sister, who shares the same surname as Darren, tracked Mr Greenfield down to London after he returned from the army.

She persuaded him to move to Edinburgh, helping him get a place at a residence for ex-soldiers at Whitefoord House in the city.

READ MORE: Tributes paid to ‘good as gold’ former soldier

But the strict routine didn’t suit Mr Greenfield, Aston told the programme.

“I feel that he did not want to be regimented any more,” she said.

Aston had been going to work one day when she saw Darren on the streets, however he told her it was temporary and refused any help.

His sister said: “He knew where I worked and he knew I was going to see him.

“I don’t know if that was a cry for help. I did try as much as I possibly could.”

READ MORE: Tributes pour in for homeless Edinburgh soldier Darren Greenfield

The next time she heard about him, her sister contacted Aston to tell her that Darren was in hospital with an infection.

“I got the phone call at work and rushed to the hospital,” she said.

“When I got there he was non-responsive. He had had a stroke and they told me I had a couple of hours to say my goodbyes.”

She added: “He was a lovely man. He was everything to me.”