Man, 68, with drink problem dies at home

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An independent Hailsham man who had a drinking problem died of natural causes, an inquest has heard.

William Smith had been fairly active up until the Autumn before his death but then became unwell, losing four stone in a short period of time.

The 68-year-old, who had been to hospital for tests to try and find out what was wrong, was due to see his daughter in America in November last year but cancelled the trip due to ill health.

In a statement read on behalf of his daughter Amanda Coker she described her father as a sociable man. She said she had spoken to her father days before he was found dead at home and that he had sounded very weak and complained of his legs being swollen and not being able to walk.

In a statement read out on behalf of warden Jeanette Friday she described him as a ‘private person, who was likeable and smiling when I spoke to him.’ She last saw him four days before his body was discovered and said he had talked about his ill health and the possibility of previously having had a heart attack.

The retired garage owner was found dead at his home in Hanover Court - a retired independent living scheme in Hailsham - on February 25.

Police broke in to the property after concerns about his welfare and forced entry after being unable to get hold of him.

Officers found him with his head at the bottom of the bed and his mobile phone by his head.

The inquest into his death, which was held at Eastbourne Magistrates’ Court last Thursday (June 27), heard the last entry in Mr Smith’s diary found at the property was on February 18.

Dr Hassan El Teraifi, a pathologist, said the body was severely decomposed and he could not ascertain the cause of death at post mortem.

The inquest heard that a liver biopsy the pensioner had had showed established cirrhosis and after hearing evidence from Dr Teraifi and Dr Dominic Gray from Quintins Medical Centre Mr Craze changed the cause of death to cirrhosis of the liver with chronic alcohol consumption as a contributory factor.

Mr Craze recorded a verdict of natural causes.