Landlord found decomposed remains in basement apartment

The decomposed remains of a man were discovered at a Dublin property after a gardener notified the landlord, an inquest heard.

The landlord entered the basement apartment following a report from the gardener who had not seen the occupant for a week.

Landlord Gerry Collins entered the property with his brother Michael Collins to find the decomposed remains of tenant Noel Gaughan (64), who had been living at the address for a number of years.

“We were there within the hour and found him seated in a chair in the kitchen. it was obvious he'd been dead a long time, ” Gerry Collins said.

Mr Gaughan had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia years previously, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard. He lived alone at the property and had become estranged from his family around six months before his death, the court heard.

Garda Christopher Daly said he arrived at the Dun Laoghaire apartment around 1pm on June 30 2015. The man was fully dressed in his normal day clothes and was seated at the kitchen table, the garda said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“The doctor thought he may have been dead for two to three weeks,” Garda Daly told the court.

The landlord was not aware of any rent arrears at the man’s apartment though he said arrears on multiple properties were not unusual. The electricity was pre-paid and had been cut off. The apartment was in darkness and the owner used a torch to conduct his initial search.

A post-mortem examination was carried out by Dr Susan Aherne. The cause of death was undermined due to decomposition of the body but the pathologist noted no evidence of injury or trauma.

“In recent years Noel had become somewhat estranged from his family. He was gregarious when he was in good form but he’d become more reclusive in recent years which meant we were unable to contact him to see how he was getting on,” the man’s brother told the court.

Mr Gaughan was a non smoker and a non drinker but occasionally came off his medication which affected his health, the court heard.

“Being in that position does suggest a sudden event, there was no disarray or any other disturbance around the apartment,” Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said.

The coroner returned an open verdict reflecting the lack of information in relation to the cause of the man’s death.


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