A housing association has apologised for “missed opportunities” after the body of a man was discovered after laying dead for six years.
Robert Alton was found dead inside his flat on Hemsworth Road in Bolton on 9 March 2023, but the coroner ruled that he was believed to have died in 2017 at aged 70.
The “skeletal” remains of the retired bookkeeper laid undiscovered inside the flat for six years, and were only found after officials from housing association, Bolton at Home, forced entry to the property in order to carry out a gas safety check, an inquest heard.
Officials who found Alton’s body also discovered a half-metre high pile of unopened post, food with expiration dates in 2017, and a pair of reading glasses placed on a TV guide dated 4 May 2017.
Upon the discovery of his body, a police investigation was subsequently carried out, but ended by confirming there were no suspicious circumstances – with coroner, Peter Sigee, ruling at an inquest last week that the “appropriate conclusion is an open conclusion”.
Now, Bolton at Home, has issued a statement to apologise for the “opportunities we missed” and offer “heartfelt condolences”.
Noel Sharpe, Group Chief Executive Officer at Bolton at Home says everyone at the housing association has been left “deeply shocked” by the incident, and realises it will “concern and upset people” to learn that Alton’s body remained undiscovered for such a long time.
Mr Sharpe admitted that it’s “completely unacceptable” that something like this has happened, and assures that it’s taken action to “reduce the risk of it happening again”.
“The reason we didn’t discover Robert’s death for so long is because our previous procedure, while meeting legal requirements, wasn’t strong enough to prevent something like this happening,” Mr Sharpe admitted in his statement.
“We’d made Robert’s home gas safe in June 2017 by turning off the gas supply externally after we were unable to contact him to arrange the annual gas safety check, and following this, we made many attempts to contact Robert over a number of years to arrange gas safety checks.
“[But] it’s clear that the action taken by us to understand why we couldn’t contact him didn’t go far enough, and opportunities were missed in spotting that something was potentially wrong.
“We should have done more to check on Robert’s welfare.”
Bolton at Home changed its procedure in July 2022, and now claims to immediately begin the process of seeking access to someone’s home via a warrant in instances where it can’t cannot contact them to arrange a gas safety check.
The housing association says it offers its “heartfelt condolences” to Alton’s loved ones, friends and neighbours.
The search team hope to find the footprint of the town including its sea wall, harbour and foundations.
This will allow them to map it all out and create a 3D map which divers could then use to explore the site.
Scientists say they now have all the data needed and will be analysing the area under the sea in the coming weeks.
After all this, they should be able to confirm whether the findings are infact the lost Yorkshire town of Ravenser Odd.
Hit Christmas market stall opens permanently at Piccadilly Gardens
Crunch Korean Gansig has become a must-try foodie stall at the Manchester Christma Markets, now it’s pulled up at Picadilly Gardens permanently.
The hit Korean hot dog stall has wowed visitors over the past few years with its cheese, potato and meat-filled creations.
Deep-fried in a crispy waffle coating and then lightly rolled in sugar, these sausages on a stick come drizzled in sweet ketchup and mustard.
Incredibly moreish if we do say so ourselves, since first making their appearance at the 2021 Manchester Christmas Markets they’ve consistently been ranked one of the event’s best food traders.
Now, thanks to a new permanent stall popping up where it all began for the team, Manc foodies can enjoy their hot meaty and cheesy Korean goodies all year long.
Popular flavour choices include all-cheese, all-sausage and half-and-half versions, with a vegetarian-friendly cheese-filled version wrapped in a potato waffle coating, and halal-friendly options that are made using separate batter and fryers.
This really is a hot dog stand that caters to everyone. With owners having previously said they would work on a vegan hot dog once they got their own permanent stand, we don’t expect the plant-powered gang will be left waiting too much longer.
Sharing the news to Instagram, the Crunch Korean Gansig team wrote: “Hey guys, we’ve got exciting news to share! We are launching a new market stall in the Piccadilly garden street food market from tomorrow.
“After two years of successful Christmas trading, we are ready to take on a new challenge, and love to serve our hotdogs to you guys again!
“So come on down to the market and say hi, we love to see you there! See you soon!”
Fans of the Korean hot dog stall have responded to the news with enthusiasm, flooding into the comments to share their excitement.
One person wrote: “So excited we will have to go!!”
Another person said: “Nooooo stop!!! I’m so happy I could cry”