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.

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

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.

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