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Man lay dead in garage for months after police failed to act on call; An investigation has now been launched.

Byline: Neil Shaw

Scrapmen clearing out a garage 61 days after a man had been reported missing to police found his body.

A police call handler had failed to pass on concerns for the man's welfare when he was initially reported missing, meaning officers never began a search for him.

Christopher Dean, 52, suffered heart failure and died in his 'man cave', laying undiscovered for months.

Police have now launched an investigation to find out what went wrong, reportsStokeOnTrentLive.

Christopher was reported missing on May 5 last year.

His family were concerned for his welfare as he hadn't been seen since March 24.

Wife Angela at first thought he had gone to see family in london but became concerned when he didn't turn up and passed on those concerns to police.

Unfortunately police did not act and on July 4 Angela asked scrapmen to clear out the garage.

His body was quickly found and it is believed he had died on March 24.

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The incident prompted Staffordshire Police to look at their handling of the report of Christopher's disappearance.

Detective Constable Colin Rushton, from Staffordshire Police, said: "Facial and fingerprint recognition is our go-to but on this occasion that was not possible due to decomposition.

"He had documentation that identified him and a mobile phone with Angela Dean's number listed as 'perfect wife'. That phone powered down at 3.40pm on March 25.

"He was wearing a huge jumper, three t-shirts, and two jackets, so we can assume that March 24 could have been the time of death.

"He had been reported missing and a call was made on May 5 but the call taker told them everything would be fine. There has since been an internal investigation because, from my point of view, that could not be the case."

In a statement read out at the inquest, Angela said: "We would get on one day and argue the next.

"I didn't think anything of it at first because he would go to London to see family, or would sleep outside in the garage. It was his man cave, full of all sorts of rubbish he kept.

"The scrapmen said they saw legs in the garage and I recognised it was what Christopher would wear. We then called for the ambulance."

A toxicology report ordered by police discovered Christopher had morphine, diazepam and codeine in his system at the time of death, as well as signs of heart problems.

Andrew Barkley, senior coroner for Staffordshire, concluded the drug use as well as heart issues would have led to Christopher's death.

He said: "Christopher was found in a garage at a property where his wife lived. Their relationship was such that they would be together and then apart - at the time they were apart.

"It wasn't unusual for him to go to London or to stay in the garage and the discovery of his body was made by the scrap metal dealers.

"It's clear he had been there for some times and his phone was last used on March 25. It seems he was looking for somewhere to stay. Police confirmed it was him after DNA tests.

"I conclude he died of drug use and heart disease."

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Publication:Get Reading (Reading, England)
Date:Aug 1, 2019
Words:541
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