Man lay dead for weeks, inquest told
July 22, 2004 19:22
AN INQUEST has returned an open verdict on the death of a man who lay dead and undiscovered in his home for up to six weeks.
The inquest at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday heard 59-year-old Leslie Haynes, of Shetland Close, Ipswich, was found dead on his living room floor by police on April 27 2004. Neighbours thought he had gone on holiday.
Sgt Trevor Smith of Ipswich police was one of those first to arrive at the gruesome scene.
He said a strong and distinctive smell confronted officers as they entered the property through a kitchen window.
He said: "Upon entry I saw a black male in an advanced state of decay. It appeared he had been there for some time.
"It was apparent the deceased had not been seen for several weeks possibly up to six weeks."
Sgt Smith told the inquest that he found a milk carton with a sell by date of March 6 in the kitchen and mail by the door with the earliest date of March 23.
He said: "Neighbours believed he had gone on holiday to Barbados and that was why it did not cause them concern that they had not seen him."
The inquest heard that Mr Haynes' son Paul had been the last family member to see the retired factory worker. He had visited his father while on leave from the Royal Navy two months before his body was found. In a statement, read out by Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean, Paul Haynes said his father had been losing weight and was looking ill when he last saw him.
A Jehovah's Witness Mr Haynes, who was born in Barbados, was a teetotaller and an intensely private man the inquest heard.
Police identified the body using a passport found in the house.
The inquest heard that CID and Scenes of Crime Officers (SOCO) were called to the property but only as a precaution-there were no suspicions of foul play.
Consultant pathologist Dr John Chapman told the inquest that Mr Haynes' body was too decomposed to ascertain the cause of death.
Dr Dean said an open verdict was the only conclusion he could reach.
He added: "We cannot say exactly what date death occurred and the exact cause of death cannot be determined."