Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

LAMBETH QUESTIONED AFTER BODY IS LEFT NINE MONTHS

  • Comment
A coroner this week called for an investigation into the death of a pensioner left to rot in his council flat for n...
A coroner this week called for an investigation into the death of a pensioner left to rot in his council flat for nearly nine months.

The body of James Huggett, 71, was found when officers called to investigate why he owed more than £1,000 in rent to Lambeth LBC.

But neither the area housing department, who visited his home twice, or social services had previously considered alerting police, Southwark Coroners Court was told.

Coroner Sir Montague Levine said: 'In the early stages Mr Huggett may have been ill and couldn't get to the door; later he would have died.

'If police had been involved at an early stage they could have found out what had happened to him. It seems to me there is something lacking here and I think there should be an inquiry on some directive which could be laid down by housing departments and social services in cases like this in the future'.

The discovery of Mr Huggett's badly decomposed body was made by housing officer Jacqueline Simms on 18 August this year.

She said Mr Huggett, who had always paid his rent on time, owed £1,031. Ms Simms had visited the flat with a view to eviction because of the unprecedented arrears.

Ms Simms said she had called twice at the flat earlier in the year and also contacted social services about the arrears. But she admitted she had not alerted police.On 18 August with the help of a fellow council worker she forced open the door.

The coroner asked if there was a directive on what should be done in such cases.

Ms Simms said there was such a directive but did not elaborate. She told the court she had contacted social services in April but they had no record of Mr Huggett.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.