Tragic reclusive man’s body lay undiscovered in bed for months and family can’t be traced

The body of a recluse lay undiscovered for several months before his landlord went to check on him, an inquest heard.

David Furneaux had failed to pay the rent on his flat and, unable to get in touch with him, the property owner called round.

However, he noticed lots of flies swarming and on looking through the ajar bathroom window detected a “pungent smell”, reports DevonLive.

Unable to get inside the flat in in Torquay, Devon, the landlord called the emergency services and the 52-year-old occupant was eventually found dead on his bed.

The inquest, held on Friday (July 15) at Plymouth Coroners Court, heard a post mortem was unable to determine a cause of death as David’s remains had so badly decomposed.

The landlord, in a statement read out in the court, said he hadn’t heard from the tenant in “quite a few weeks”.

A neighbour, speaking to investigators, had estimated he spoke to David outside their homes in Parkfield Road around a month before the discovery.

However, the body was found on September 17, 2021, but police found milk in the fridge that went out of date on June 21, suggesting he may have been dead much longer.

The landlord said the flat had been rented to David since 2003 and described him as reclusive and someone who did not go out much.

An estate agent who managed the property said they had met him several times when carrying out property checks, and said he was very hard of hearing.

They also said he did not appear to go out much and was always playing on his PlayStation when they visited.

It was added he had never spoken of any friends or family.

David’s GP said in a statement how he had suffered with low weight for many years and when he was last weighed he was just 37 kilos.

A potential diagnosis of diabetes had been recorded, but it was believed it may have been a false reading due to problems with his food intake.

A bone density scan in 2018 confirmed he had osteoporosis, and he also had asthma and an irregular heart rhythm.

A post mortem examination concluded the cause of his death was unascertained due to his body having been badly decomposed.

The report stated: “This man had clearly been dead for a prolonged period of time.”

Assistant coroner Stephen Covell revealed that sadly it had not been possible to locate his family and that it was not known where he had been born or what his occupation once was.

Recording a narrative conclusion, he said: “The deceased’s body was decomposed indicating had been dead for a lengthy period of time such that it was not possible to determine a cause of death.

“There was no evidence the deceased had suffered any traumatic injury or taken his own life.”