Pensioner lay dying for days under kitchen cupboard

First published in News by , Chief Reporter

A PENSIONER died after being trapped under a kitchen cupboard for four days.

Stanley West, known as Joe, was discovered by his neighbour on the floor under the cupboard on August 21 at his home in Pamber End. Mr West was taken to Basingstoke hospital, but died the following day.

His neighbour Jane Craufurd told an inquest at Alton Magistrates' Court that she returned from a holiday in France on August 19, but did not go round to see Mr West, aged 83, until August 21, when she went to take him a flask of hot water as there was a power cut.

She said: “I had a back door key but wouldn't need to use it because he left the door unlocked. I always knocked on the door but wouldn't expect a reply and would go straight in.”

However, Mrs Craufurd could not fully open the door because Mr West's body was blocking it. She added: “I saw the kitchen cupboard was on the floor, could see a small part of his arm and could hear him groaning.”

Mrs Craufurd called an ambulance before comforting Mr West, holding his hand. She told the inquest there was several days' worth of hair growth on his face, and that his eyes were infected.

She said Mr West was an independent man and was able to catch a bus, adding: “Usually, I would go in once a week to see him.”

PC Ian Wonnacott, from Basingstoke police station, was called to the incident at 10.40am.

He said of Mr West: “He was lying on his back with a large piece of furniture on him. He was conscious and breathing, although it was hard to understand what he was saying.”

Medication for Mr West's epilepsy was found in his home, but had not been taken for four days.

His brother David, from Basingstoke, told the inquest that he saw Mr West occasionally, but the 20-year age gap between them meant they were never close.

Speaking about the cupboard, he said: “If he had fallen and leant on it, the weight would have made it fall.”

He told the inquest his brother had spent some time at a care home in Whitchurch in 2010, following a collapse, but lived on his own in Pamber End, where he had spent his entire life.

North East Hampshire Coroner Andrew Bradley described the circumstances of Mr West's death as “a very sad matter.” He recorded a verdict of accidental death, caused by pneumonia and hypothermia, adding: “He had been trapped for four days by a cupboard that had fallen.”

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