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Concern over rent arrears led to discovery of woman's body at sheltered housing complex - inquest

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Concern over rent arrears led to discovery of woman's body at sheltered housing complex - inquest

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Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

Concern over rent arrears led to discovery of woman's body at sheltered housing complex - inquest Concern over rent arrears led to discovery of woman's body at sheltered housing complex - inquest

The body of an elderly woman went undiscovered for six weeks at a sheltered housing complex until council officers called to discuss her rent arrears.

At an inquest into the death of Iris Mays, aged 66, Hull City Council's community housing manager Dave Barnett admitted protocol "was not followed completely in this instance".

Council care workers were meant to visit Miss Mays in her flat at Charles Brady Court once a month to check on her wellbeing.

She was last seen on June 26 but when council staff called at the flat on July 27 there was on answer. Despite a procedure being in place that allowed them to gain entry if required, staff left the premises and did not return until August 7, when the body was finally discovered.

Following the inquest, Miss Mays ex-husband Paul Major told the Hull Daily Mail: "It should have been dealt with before the six weeks. To lay there for six weeks with nobody bothering is appalling. If you're dead, you're not going to pull the help cord, are you?

"They said they couldn't go in because, if they broke the door down, it was going to cost somebody, so it was put off and put off.

"I told them I was concerned. They should have dealt with it after a week."

According to a statement read out on behalf of Hull City Council, Miss Mays often stayed overnight at Mr Major's home or with a friend, so council workers assumed she might be staying elsewhere.

Carol Wray, Miss Mays' care worker, told the inquest she had not been worried about Miss Mays's welfare and the decision to gain entry to the flat was primarily motivated by the fact Miss Mays had fallen behind on her rent.

She had previously had difficulties paying her rent, and the council believed she had run into the same problems.

It had been impossible to pinpoint the exact cause or time of Miss Mays's death, the inquest heard.

Recording an open verdict, Coroner Michael Mellun said: "She slipped through what was, on the face of it, a very tight net, with tragic consequences."

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