Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

‘Lessons to be learned’ after dead body fiasco

The Police Ombudsman has warned that lessons must be learned after police twice failed to spot a dead man under a blanket on his sofa.

The man — who was alcohol dependent — was said to be living in atrocious conditions at an address in the Deramore Drive area of Strathfoyle in Derry.

Ombudsman Al Hutchinson has recommended that two police officers be disciplined after searches by PSNI initially failed to find his decomposed body.

The PSNI last night fully accepted the report’s findings and said it was complying with the recommendations. The deceased, who is not named in the Ombudsman’s report, had not been seen for more than a week when police were alerted by a neighbour to concerns for his safety on September 14, 2008.

The report concluded that he had been living with no working toilet, rubbish half-a-metre deep in places and generally in a condition “utterly unsuitable for human habitation”.

Mr Hutchinson said the circumstances of the man’s death are poignant.

“I think there is a lesson for all of us in official organisations that vulnerable people, such as those dependant on alcohol, are still falling through the cracks in the system,” he said.

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