A RETIRED painter and decorator died while living in his garden shed after being kicked out of his house by a landlord.
Malcolm Frost was left begging for food after he was evicted from his home in Ashmores Lane, Alsager, Staffordshire. where he had failed to pay rent.
The 61-year-old was found dead in his garden shed around 10 days later by a neighbour who discovered he had been living there.
The death of Mr Frost, who was severely malnourished, has led to changes in Cheshire East Council’s Adult Services department after it emerged staff failed to help Mr Frost.
His friend and neighbour Roy Edwards, yesterday told an inquest at Crewe’s Municipal Buildings how Mr Frost had stopped working a few years before his death and rarely went out.
Mr Edwards said money worries had prompted his friend to sell his childhood home to a private landlord and pay rent to live there.
But the locks were changed after Mr Frost fell into arrears.
Mr Edwards said: “I started buying him food every day because he had no money at all.
“He was starving. You could see he was losing weight. In March he said he was going to be evicted and they changed all the locks so he couldn’t get in. Then I found him living in the garden shed.
“He was lying on the floor, I think he was dying then. He asked me for a glass of water. That was the last thing he said to me.”
Mr Edwards went to check on his friend a couple of days later, on March 23, and found him dead in the shed. A cause of death could not be established, but a pathologist said it was either heart disease or hypothermia.
Mr Frost’s neighbour had called the council in December – when he was still living in his house – to raise concerns about his welfare.
But staff merely logged the details and took no further action.
Alan Gibson, from the council’s Adult Services department, said an internal investigation was carried out after his death.
Mr Gibson said: “We should have visited or sent a letter to see if he would accept support.
“From now on someone will go out to the person’s home. If we had been told he was living in his shed it would have been flagged up straight away.”
The council is in the process of tracing the landlord that evicted Mr Frost.
Recording an open verdict Cheshire’s Assistant Deputy Coroner Jean Harkin, said: “This is a very sad and tragic set of circumstances.
Foot note from Keith:
Nobody knows what lay behind the circumstances behind his eviction but one thing is for sure, we all have a duty of care for our neighbours and this should not happen in a civilised world.
It is a really shocking statistic