Collapsed Behind Locked Doors (CBLD)

Green Bottle Fly, by laserstars, on Flickr

Green Bottle Fly, by laserstars, on Flickr

In the evening of one of the beautiful warm days that we have had lately (which also happened to be my birthday!) I had an observer called Jenny out in the car with me.

We were called to a ‘collapse behind locked doors’. This is quite a common call for us. Sometimes a concerned relative has tried to get in touch by phone from a distance and on getting no reply immediately contacts the emergency services. On these occasions the home is often empty while the occupant is out shopping or having a lovely lunch with friends!

Other times a friend, carer or neighbour has real reason to be worried because they can see or hear the occupant through the letterbox or a window, collapsed on the floor. Sometimes we try to climb in a window if there is one open, more often we call the police to kick in the door for us.

On this occasion sadly, having just returned from their holiday, it was the bad smell that alerted neighbours that something was amiss. Before we even got inside the flat, the terrible smell told us all we needed to know and through the curtains large numbers of flies confirmed our belief.

The police arrived with an ‘enforcer’  to break in the door and I discovered he corpse of the elderly man in a bedroom. He had clearly been there some time and would now have been unrecognisable to his family. The flies, maggots and their pupa were concentrated in the room with him. The presence of pupa suggests that he had lay there at least 1-2 weeks.

As there was nothing more that we could do for him, I completed the paperwork and we left the police attempting to make contact with the man’s family to break the news.

Although it appeared that he had simply died a natural death in old age; to us it was very sad that his family hadn’t seemed to care enough to notice his passing.


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  1. [...] called to a ‘Collapsed behind locked doors – not seen for two days’ (see previous post on CBLD). We cautiously proceeded through the treacherous icy main streets, arriving at the same time as [...]

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