Pensioner, 78, lay dead in his flat for months

20/11/13- Flats in Priory Road, Hastings.  Ken Curtis died and lay undiscovered for months in his flat.
20/11/13- Flats in Priory Road, Hastings. Ken Curtis died and lay undiscovered for months in his flat.

A 78-YEAR-OLD man lay dead in his flat for several months an inquest heard, the third case of its kind in 18 months.

Police officers found Ken Curtis’s body in his flat in Priory Road almost four months after he was last seen by a relative.

East Sussex Coroner’s Court sitting in Hastings heard how the retired farm worker had been staying with friends and relatives in the months leading up to his death.

Giving evidence, Mr Curtis’ daughter-in-law Lisa Curtis said she last saw him in January or February. His common law wife Jean died several years earlier and he started to live with family and friends.

He was living with a friend in Ore in the months before his death and was suffering from sickness and diarrhoea. He returned to his flat at the end of February. Social Services had offered help but he had declined it.

The court heard how Mr Curtis’ body was found on June 30 after police broke into his flat following a report that he had not been seen for a few months. His body was on the floor covered in a duvet. The hip bones and skull could clearly be seen by officers.

A post mortem was carried out by pathologist Dr Ian Hawley. He concluded he could not ascertain the exact cause of death.

East Sussex Coroner Alan Craze concluded with a verdict of death by natural causes. Pensioner Silvana Sanquinetti lay dead in her flat for at least four months before her body was found in September 2011. The 72-year-old of Cornwallis Gardens, was a known recluse who purposely shut herself away from the outside world. In May 2012 the badly decomposed body of Catherine Joyce Clancy, 70, was found sitting upright on a sofa in her flat in Devonshire Road. She had lay dead in her flat for up to four weeks before her body was discovered by police her inquest heard.

Steve Hare, Age UK East Sussex, chief executive, said: “Older people are increasingly isolated today. It’s about us being brave enough to knock on their door and check they are okay. We are often so busy being caught up in our own lives.”