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Coroner slams council and care firm after Bethnal Green pensioner’s body lay undiscovered for three days

PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 July 2018

William Lugg died of a head injury following the fall on the stairs of his home in Maude House, Ropley Street, Bethnal Green. Pic: GOOGLE MAPS

William Lugg died of a head injury following the fall on the stairs of his home in Maude House, Ropley Street, Bethnal Green. Pic: GOOGLE MAPS

Archant

A pensioner’s body lay undiscovered by carers for three days after he died following a fall at home.

William Lugg died of a head injury following the fall on the stairs of his home in Maude House, Ropley Street, Bethnal Green.

An inquest into his death arrived at a narrative verdict.

Mr Lugg – who suffered from depression, had no surviving family and lived alone – was under the care of Tower Hamlets Council’s adult social care team.

He got daily care visits from Meals on Wheels and Careworld London, a care agency based in Myrdle Street, Whitechapel.

Assistant coroner Heather Williams QC said it was “unusual” for Mr Lugg not to answer the door. But callers from the council and Careworld both failed to get an answer when they called from March 3 onwards.

And Careworld staff failed to phone the police or council’s out of hours service, a report published by Inner North London coroner’s court states.

Officers weren’t called until March 6 – three days after Mr Lugg died.

“It is not clear whether or not earlier intervention, following the fall, would have saved him,” the coroner states in the prevention of future deaths report.

Ms Williams raised six concerns over procedures at Careworld and the council.

The report says Tower Hamlets’ procedures following a failed visit were “poorly understood” and not followed by Careworld staff.

Vital information about how to get in touch with the only other person with a key to Mr Lugg’s home had not been recorded correctly by the council or care agency.

A failure to record calls about failed visits led to inaccurate information about Mr Lugg’s welfare being passed to the council by Careworld.

Neither the council nor care firm’s procedures in the event of a failed visit included advice to contact police.

And there was no clear system for the council’s adult social care workers to decide who to prioritise after weekends.

In response a council spokesman said: “We are investigating the issues behind the tragic death of Mr Lugg and will be giving a full response to the coroner after a thorough investigation has concluded.”

Careworld declined to comment.

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