Man lay dead in flat for weeks

A MAN lay dead in his flat for up to four weeks before his badly decomposed body was discovered, the third case of its kind in the last 18 months.

Michael Kevin Reilly, 61, was found lying face down in the living room of his flat in West Hill Road, St Leonards an inquuest was told.

His pet dog had been living in the same flat for as long as he had been dead. It was found alive and well by police.

East Sussex Deputy Coroner Christopher Wilkinson heard on Wednesday how Mr Reilly had last spoken to his brother Seamus Reilly at the end of February last year.

It was only when a neighbour heard his Staffordshire Bulldog barking all night that she phoned the police.

Officers broke in and found Mr Reilly’s naked body lying on the floor in the early hours of March 22 last year.

A post mortem was carried out by Dr Ian Hawley, a consultant pathologist at the Conquest Hospital.

But he could not ascertain the cause of death or how long his body had been there because of the bad state of decomposition.

The court heard how Mr Reilly was born in Ireland but emigrated to London in 1967. He worked in the construction industry and later as a landscape


He lived in Cricklewood and later moved to St Leonards where he bought his flat around 1996.

A statement from Seamus Reilly told how he last spoke to him on the phone at the end of February.

Mr Wilkinson recorded an open verdict. He said: “It was difficult to find any information as the property was such a state.

“In this case it is impossible to establish how he died.”

Last year inquests were held for Silvana Sanguinetti, 72, and Joyce Clancy, 70.

Mrs Sanguinetti’s body had laid in her flat in September 2011 in Cornwallis Gardens for at least four months.

Mrs Clancy’s boyd had been found sitting upright on her sofa in her flat in Devonshire Road last May.

The body could have been there for up to six weeks.

Speaking to the Observer last October, Steve Hare, chief executive of Age UK East Sussex, said: “We know older people face social isolation these days. There are 18,000 people living alone in the county.

“Friends and family are not calling around as much.

“There is now a ‘sandwich’ generation of people in their 40s and 50s who not only have children to look after they also have ageing parents. They just have less time.

“Families are living further away from each other these days.

“If you look back 50 years ago there were more close kit family communities that looked after each other more.

“And the traditional safety net has been eroded. Milkmen, paperboys, bobbies on the beat and bob-a-job scouts have gone. Even the postmen only do one delivery a day now.

“Society must realise that older people are an asset to the community and should not be seen as a problem.

“They have skills, talent and experience and play and important part in our society.”