Hanley recluse, 77, died in litter-strewn house
A 77-YEAR-OLD recluse could have been dead for two months before his body was discovered at his rubbish-strewn house.
Brian Wilkinson had cut himself off from his family and refused to answer the door to them since they last saw him in 2010.
But Mr Wilkinson's body was discovered by his nephew Gerald Leighton, who decided to let himself into his uncle's property in July this year.
An inquest into Mr Wilkinson's death heard his house in Chell Street, Hanley, was in a state of disarray, with rubbish and rotting food strewn around the rooms. The electricity had also been turned off.
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He had repeatedly refused to accept help from his family and social services.
Sister Lilian Leighton, of Nantwich, told a hearing at North Staffordshire Coroner's Court that Mr Wilkinson had never recovered from the death of his partner 30 years ago.
She said: "He was always a loner. He had a partner who died 30 years ago and he never got over it.
"He never trusted anyone and as he got older he became more and more of a recluse.
"He had been quite house-proud but his standards had dropped over the last few years."
Mr Wilkinson spent 35 years working in potbanks before ending his working life as a park keeper at Hanley Park.
He suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems, but refused to take his medication.
Mrs Leighton added: "He stopped answering his telephone, even to family. In August 2010 we visited him and he refused to come to the door.
"At Christmas that year I said Gerald would come and pick him up and bring him to our house, but he wouldn't come. That was the last time I saw him. He was a total recluse."
The inquest heard Mr Wilkinson's body was badly decomposed so no cause of death could be established.
He had lost around half his usual 17 stone body weight in the year before he died.
PC Kramer Caldwell, who attended Mr Wilkinson's house when the OAP's body was found on July 14, said there was no sign of foul play.
He said: "The property was in a very degraded state.
"There was hoarded waste, rotting food litter everywhere.
"Looking around the property as best I could, all locks were intact and there was no sign of forced entry.
"A TV guide open at May 12, 2012, was found in the lounge."
North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith recorded that Mr Wilkinson died from natural causes.
He said: "He had got some naturally occurring diseases, principally heart related.
"My impression is that he has collapsed on the bed and died, and sadly lay there for several weeks until his body was discovered.
"The evidence fits in with his death being in about mid-May.
"We will never be able to put a date on it. "I'm quite satisfied he died from natural causes."