Man’s body found after ‘many weeks’ in Colchester

Basildon Recorder: Neighbour Norman Battersby displays a help cord which is in all the flats Neighbour Norman Battersby displays a help cord which is in all the flats

A MAN’S body went undiscovered in his warden-controlled flat for “several weeks”.

The discovery was made by a warden at the sheltered housing site, at St John’s Place, in St John’s Green, Colchester.

The man has been named locally as Michael Heaton, who was in his sixties, a former governor at the Gilberd School and an activist in the Social Democratic Party.

Mr Heaton had lived there about five years and is believed to have died of natural causes.

Neighbour, Norman Battersby, 59, criticised the lack of checks made by wardens since Colchester Council sold Abbeygate House sheltered housing complex. St John’s Place is classed as part of Abbeygate House.

He said: “He didn’t deserve to be lying there for weeks. If they had done their jobs properly, he wouldn’t have been.” Mr Battersby said wardens were supposed to check on residents every month, but the last time he was visited was five weeks ago.

He said: “Before they sold Abbeygate House they used to come in on a regular basis and there was always someone on the end of the phone. Now we have just been pushed aside.”

He added: “I last saw him in May, he was sitting at Sheregate steps. I spoke to a policeman who said the post was dated from mid-May.”

Other sources say wardens had made a number of attempts to contact Mr Heaton before the discovery.

Karen Loweman, director of housing at Colchester Borough Homes, which runs the flats on the council’s behalf, said: “Residents in linked accommodation receive a monthly visit.

“If a visiting officer receives no response, contact is then made by phone, followed by written correspondence and a further personal visit.

“We offer our condolences to Mr Heaton’s family and are offering support to staff and any other residents who may be affected by this death.”

Police and an ambulance arrived at the flats on Tuesday, at 9am, and found Mr Heaton’s body. An Essex Police spokesman said: “Police were called at 9.10am after the body of a man in his sixties was found at his home in St John’s Place, Colchester.

“There were no suspicious circumstances and a report was sent to the coroner.”

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