Rent arrears man found dead in his flat

THE decomposed remains of a housing association tenant was found in his flat when the bailiffs broke in to repossess the property because of rent arrears. Claude Marshall, 47, of Mulready House, Millbank Estate, John Islip Street, Westminster, was found

THE decomposed remains of a housing association tenant was found in his flat when the bailiffs broke in to repossess the property because of rent arrears.

Claude Marshall, 47, of Mulready House, Millbank Estate, John Islip Street, Westminster, was found lying face down on a mattress, but was so badly decomposed he barely resembled a human being, a coroner's court was told.

Westminster Coroner's Court heard how the unemployed recluse, with no known family, may have been dead eight months before his corpse was found in December last year.

He had failed to pay rent on the flat owned by CityWest Homes, in December 2008, and was not seen alive since May 2009 when a housing officer visited him but he refused to let them in.


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Lynda Morris, coroner's officer, told the court: "Mr Marshall kept himself to himself.

"He had visits, phone calls and letters and did not respond to them."

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His rent arrears accrued which resulted in CityWest homes gaining a possession order three months later.

Checks were carried out to ensure Mr Marshall was not under social services care or in hospital, then CityWest homes alerted the police who attended his home but refused to break in as they were 'no flies or smells' despite a build up of post.

His grisly remains were found by the bailiffs.

Ms Morris said: "The door between the room he was in and the hallway was closed, which helps to explain why there was no smell."

Pathologist Dr Peter Wilkins said the body disintegrated into a white powder and bones were visible and crumbling.

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman adjourned a verdict while police investigate why they had not entered the flat sooner.

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