Wife’s questions over homeless man’s death
An inquest has returned a misadventure verdict on the death of alcoholic Eric Hughes. reports on the aftermath.
CAMERA monitors who unwittingly watched a homeless alcoholic die should have called an ambulance, claims his wife.
CCTV operators saw Eric Hughes lying on the pavement on a cold night but thought he was sleeping rough as usual.
But he died of hypothermia in full view of the cameras.
Virginia Hughes, 62, told the Kentish Express after the inquest: “I still think they should have called an ambulance.
“They said he was shaking as normal but who’s to say it wasn’t hypothermia?”
An inquest jury on Wednesday last week returned a verdict of misadventure on Mr Hughes, 52, who was found dead on the morning of November 9, 2007 outside the public toilets at New Rents in Ashford town centre.
Shirley Cunningham and Gareth Recht, CCTV monitors at Ashford’s Civic Centre, had told the hearing Mr Hughes appeared to be in no worse condition than usual.
The saw him at first sitting on a bench outside the public toilets at New Rents and then lying on the pavement, still occasionally moving.
They assumed he would wake up next morning as usual.
Coroner Rachel Redman said in her summing up: “Mr Recht could have called an ambulance but he and Miss Cunningham said everything about Mr Hughes was normal.
“They had seen him on countless nights sleeping rough in the town.”
Police investigated the death but no criminal proceedings were pursued.
The cause of death was classed as hypothermia due to alcohol intoxication.