Crawley man found dead in flat amid ‘huge amount of rubbish’

A ‘reclusive’ delivery driver was discovered dead in his Crawley home amid ‘a huge amount of rubbish’, an inquest has heard.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 10:25 am
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 10:30 am

Brian Flack was found by police at his home in St Sampson Road, Crawley, on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

An inquest into his death, held at Crawley Coroner’s Court on Tuesday, heard that police visited his home after calls from other residents.

His neighbours told police the 60-year-old ‘kept himself to himself’ and said they had not seen him in a long time.

The inquest was held at Centenary House in Crawley on Tuesday. Photo: Google Images

Officers were unable to access the flat by opening the door and the fire service was called to help gain entry, the court heard.

Inside the flat, a ‘huge amount of rubbish’ was found – which was ‘almost three or four foot deep’ in places.

Assistant coroner Chris Wilkinson described it as ‘accumulated household waste’ – including empty cans, empty bottles, food and magazines.

He said the condition of the flat would suggest that the owner was ‘suffering some kind of mental illness’.

“You can’t imagine that anyone could live like that unless they had become blind to it,” he said.

At the back of the flat, a body was found ‘severely decomposed’, the court heard.

The body was confirmed to be Mr Flack after a DNA sample was found to match his sister’s DNA.

In a statement read out at the inquest, Mr Flack’s family described him as ‘reclusive’ and ‘not well organised’.

“He did not look after himself,” they said in the statement.

When he went to stay with his sister and her family for Christmas in 2017, he was ‘very thin’ and his face was swollen, they recalled.

A post-mortem examination carried out at East Surrey Hospital was not able to identify a cause of death, the court heard.

Mr Wilkinson said there was no evidence of ‘significant recent trauma’ nor any evidence that Mr Flack intended to take his own life.

The court heard he had not seen his GP in two years.

Speaking at the inquest, his niece said: “We did nag him about his health, we told him it was only because we loved him.”

She described him as a ‘private’ man and recalled that when they had gone to pick him up at Christmas in 2017, he had been waiting for them outside his flat, rather than inside.

Mr Wilkinson said it was likely that Mr Flack had suffered ‘some kind of medical episode’ – which could have been a cardiac arrest – and collapsed.

He stayed where he was and was not able to get up, Mr Wilkinson said.

Mr Wilkinson believed he died at some time between the middle of October and November 13.

He said it was likely he had suffered from some kind of medical episode or died as a result of an ongoing condition that had not been treated because he had not sought help.

He concluded death by natural causes.