United Kingdom

Father, 49, who died from hypothermia 'could have been saved if he hadn't been neglected by friends'

A man who was found dead in his toilet after suffering from hypothermia could have been saved if he had not been neglected by friends, an inquest has heard.

The body of Andrew Forrest, 49, from Burnley, Lancashire, was found wedged between the toilet and the bathroom wall on March 19, 2019.

Preston Coroner's Court heard how three of his friends Dwayne Shaw, James Cameron and Kyle Wood had gone to check on him after becoming concerned they had not heard from the father-of-two.

The trio walked into a house of 'disarray' with drawers turned out, bags on the sofa and water flooding downstairs into the back room.

The group found Andrew, who had suffered a bleed on the brain and broken ribs, dead in the bathroom.  

The court was told how Andrew had been left in a 'confused, vacant' state in a cold house which was overflowing with water by two other friends, Shaun Ross and Carla Clarke, just days before.

Coroner James Newman said that if the friends, who lived a 'different lifestyle', had sought help for him it is likely that Andrew would be alive today.

He added that despite Andrew dying of natural causes from hypothermia, negligence played a part in his death. 

Andrew Forrest, 49, (pictured) from Burnley, Lancashire, was found dead wedged between the toilet and the bathroom wall on March 19, 2019

On the afternoon of March 19, 2019, Dwayne Shaw, James Cameron and Kyle Wood went round to Andrew's to check on him after having not heard from him for some time.

After getting no reply when knocking on the door, they found the door unlocked which they said was very unusual.

Tragically, they found him dead in his bathroom and rang emergency services.

Andrew, a plasterer, was last seen on March 17 when two acquaintances, Shaun Ross and Carla Clarke, had visited him just before 4pm.

CCTV showed the pair in the house for about 40 minutes before leaving with Shaun carrying a plastic bag.

Footage also captured Carla, who did not attend the inquest as she was untraceable by authorities, visiting the house twice more.

Shaun told the inquest it had been Carla's idea to check on Andrew and when they arrived there was water running into the back room and there was obvious damage to the house.

He then claims Carla went to check upstairs and, after following her, Carla found Andrew who Shaun said was 'slumped and holding himself'.

He said Andrew was staring at him in a 'weird way' and was not speaking.

Shaun then said Carla went to get Andrew a 'can' from the shop and returned some minutes later. However, there was no CCTV evidence to support this claim.

Shaun continued to say he then left the house feeling as if Andrew and Carla didn't want him there.

The body of Andrew Forrest, 49, was found wedged between the toilet and the bathroom wall on March 19, 2019 at a house in Burnley, Lancashire

Despite the 'dependant' state Andrew was in, neither called for any medical help, with Shaun adding: 'At the time I didn't think anything about it but after I did.'

Coroner Mr Newman said: 'He sits here in hindsight thinking there should have been some medical assistance sought.

'Mr Ross very clearly said that he regrets that but that doesn't change the picture.'

Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Willis said that Carla and Shaun's statements did not match and the CCTV footage also captured a differing timeline of events.

Forensic pathologist Professor Phillip Lumb said Andrew was found with a bump on his head, scratches and grazes, bruises and a cut lip, however these did not appear to be linked to his cause of death or show any evidence of an assault.

When investigating further, he discovered Andrew had suffered a bleed on the brain and some broken ribs.

However, again, it was concluded these were not significant enough to cause his death and did not appear to have come from an assault.

Toxicology tests on Andrew, who had a substance abuse problem, found several drugs in his system, including cocaine and cannabis, however these were not at life-threatening levels.

Professor Lumb said in his stomach he found gastric ulcers, a common symptom of hypothermia.

He continued to say Andrew's home was very cold and he had wet feet.

This, along with his low weight which was just over seven stone, as well as alcohol dependence were all contributing factors which could have led to hypothermia.

He said Andrew was 'underdressed' in shorts and a T-shirt given the coldness of the house. 

Professor Lumb concluded: 'The most plausible explanation for his cause of death is hypothermia.'

Speaking after the inquest, Andrew's sister, Andrea Forrest, paid a heartfelt tribute to her 'amazing brother'.

She said: 'He was an amazing brother, uncle and a loving son.

'He was a social butterfly. He is missed by his family and friends and community that supported him.'

Andrew's son, Aiden, and daughter, Nadia, both gave tributes to their father, describing the grandad-of-three as someone who would do anything for anyone.

Aiden said: 'He was a loveable guy, he loved his kids and all three of his grandchildren.'

Nadia added: 'He was amazing. He would do anything for anyone. He was a big Burnley FC fan and loved going to home and away matches.'

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