Council blamed for man's death

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 January 2011 | UPDATED: 09:18 14 January 2011

View of Weston Town Hall Building.; 18-8-09

View of Weston Town Hall Building.; 18-8-09

Copyright Archant Ltd

THE body of a 'proud' pensioner was found in a Weston flat more than two weeks after the council was warned he would die if he did not get urgent help.

A mental health team did not turn up to assess Royston March until 17 days after the authority was first told of concerns over the 83-year-old’s welfare - and when it did, staff found him dead.

Before Christmas Stacie Price, who works for Mr March’s former landlord, telephoned North Somerset Council to say she had ‘serious’ concerns over his state of mind.

A doctor went out to assess him at his Meadow Street home and staff then told Ms Price that a mental health team could not see the pensioner until after the festive season.

She said: “I told them he would die if they did not see him sooner.

“I had serious concerns over his welfare.

“I had spotted him in the snow and he was in a terrible state and he was such a proud man.

“When I helped him back to his flat he was so confused and didn’t even remember how to put the heating on, it was freezing.

“He had a cut hand and was really disorientated.

“I went to a charity shop and got him some clean clothes and topped up his heating, before ringing the council.

“I know the doctor had some difficulties trying to speak to him, but I told the council that he had no food, no way of getting food and that if he wasn’t assessed as soon as possible he would die.”

Ms Price, who works for Cadogan House Investment Properties Ltd in Weston, has spent 10 years in her role supporting tenants and used to work for a mental health organisation.

An inquest is due to be opened into Mr March’s death and the police are not treating the incident as suspicious.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with all those who knew Mr March.

“A doctor did carry out a home visit and Mr March was resistant to offers of medical help.

“It was agreed that a mental health assessment would be completed. The police carried out a welfare check on Mr March over the Christmas period and our Care Connect service arranged for food to be delivered.”

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