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Hypothermia victim ‘was naked’ when found

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

By MARK MCKAY

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AN elderly man, found naked in his untidy house, died in ‘strange circumstances’, an inquest was told.

Jack Bourne, 85, was found dead at his home in Wales Lane, Barton-Under-Needwood, on September 9 last year.

Although Mr Bourne had been in good health, he had deteriorated over the previous 12 months, the inquest sitting at Burton Town Hall was told.

The inquest was told Mr Bourne was found naked at the bottom of the stairs, a flat screen television had toppled over and the house was untidy.

Giving evidence, Coroner’s officer Stephanie Mason, said the state of Mr Bourne’s house was unusual.

She said: “He was a proud man and always kept his house tidy.

“But there were things out of place and moved around, including his clothes, when he was found.”

Police and CID officers investigated Mr Bourne’s home but ruled out foul play after his wallet containing cash and no sign of a break in was discovered.

Giving evidence, consultant pathologist Dr Peter Acland gave the cause of death as hypothermia and chronic bronchitis.

He told the inquest: “People who suffer from hypothermia lose the sense of feeling cold – they may even feel rather hot.

“They can become confused and unsteady so they knock things of so it can look suspicious but this is not an uncommon scenario.

“The ability to keep a normal body temperature is sometimes lost when you are old.”

South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh recorded a verdict of accidental death.

He said: “For the majority of his life he had been a healthy man but it was obvious that in his final year he had been deteriorating.

“He was a gentleman and he valued his independence and his own appearance.

“He was found dead in strange circumstances – he was naked and there was a mess in the property.

“The throwing off of clothes is typical of hypothermia as well.

“This was unintended, unfortunate and accidental.”

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