Artist’s body not found until three weeks after death

A TALENTED artist who died in his Eastbourne home at the age of 84 was not found for around three weeks.

Hugh Gladwish, of Grassington Road, was found dead at his home on August 19 and an inquest into his death was held at Eastbourne Magistrates court on Thursday (February 16).

Coroner Alan Craze heard how Mr Gladwish, who was known by his friends as Hugo, was a private man who had previously worked as a television and media director.

He enjoyed painting nautical scenes and had lots of his art work on the walls of his Meads home.

The inquest heard he had friends, a brother and a nephew, but Mr Gladwish was often reluctant for them to visit.

Veronica Surman, one of his closest friends, said, “He was a private man and he kept his friends and family separate.

“He valued his independence and he didn’t like talking on the phone – he once admitted to putting the telephone in a drawer so he couldn’t hear it ring.”

Ms Surman, who lives in Kent, explained how she would speak to Mr Gladwish once a month on the telephone as well as receiving regular letters and notes from him.

She told Mr Craze she would have visited Mr Gladwish more often but she respected that he did not want visitors.

Ali Warner, the coroner’s officer, visited Mr Gladwish’s home at the time of his death after the ambulance service had broken in to his home.

Mrs Warner found evidence that Mr Gladwish had died on or around July 28.

She told the inquest there was milk in the fridge dated August 1, a television listings guide opened on the page of July 28 and his last diary entry was on July 27.

Mr Gladwish had various health problems, including depression and a past suicide attempt.

However, the post mortem was unable to ascertain the cause of death because of the decomposition of his body.

Letters to Ms Surman were found underneath a will, which was left on his desk.

The notes spoke about his death but they were undated and Mr Craze said they did not provide enough evidence that Mr Gladwish had taken his life.

He said, “It is a probable suicide but there is not enough evidence to show it.”

Mr Craze recorded an open verdict.