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OAP died in the worst conditions officer had seen

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

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A PAR man found dead at his home on Valentine's Day was living in the "worst conditions" a police officer said she had ever seen.

An inquest into his death revealed he could have been lying there for weeks with a paraffin heater on nearby.

William Darling was found by police officers who attended his home in Par Green after neighbours and social workers expressed concerns about his welfare.

The inquest, at Truro Coroner's Court on November 6, heard that neighbours had last seen the 67-year-old two or three weeks before he was found on February 14.

The convenience store where he usually bought brandy and cigarettes twice a week said staff had not seen him since December 31, 2011 – about six weeks before he was found dead.

"It looks like there was a long period of (self) neglect," coroner Dr Barrie van den Berg told the inquest.

The court heard how most of Mr Darling's family live in Manchester and that neighbours had referred him to social services and the Environment Agency in the past, concerned about his living conditions.

"These were probably the worst conditions I have ever seen in any premises in my 11 years as a police officer," said Teresa Richardson, from St Austell Crime Investigation Department (CID).

"It appears that had been the situation for quite some time," she added. "It was quite terrible. More than terrible conditions really."

The inquest revealed Mr Darling had been on antidepressants at the time of his death but had not taken enough to kill himself, and that he was found surrounded by empty alcohol bottles.

Dr van den Berg recorded an open verdict, as he said the evidence did not fully disclose how Mr Darling had died.

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