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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Former policeman may have lain dead for two days, inquest hears

A former police officer with a history of alcohol problems died from natural causes.

Robert Paul Jennings, 52, of South Watt Street, Workington, was found dead at his flat by Alan Carny, who lived in the same block as him.

Mr Jennings had had a history of alcohol problems, as well as repeated falls, but that was not thought to be a cause of his death as they did not show up in the post mortem or toxicology reports.

Mr Jennings was found by Mr Carny at 2pm on October 16 after his neighbour became concerned after not hearing from him for a few days.

It was thought Mr Jennings had been dead for around two days before he was discovered.

In a statement read to the inquest Mr Carny said: “I never spoke to him a lot but we did neighbourly things for each other and I could often hear him pottering about.

“The last time I heard from him was on October 7 when I took his rubbish downstairs for him.

“I didn’t hear from him for the next few days which was not unusual but when it got to October 16 I thought about him and how he hadn’t been heard or seen for a while.”

Mr Carny called his landlady and went to check on him. He found Mr Jennings dead on the sofa.

Mr Jennings had served in the army in Germany and then joined the police when he returned to England.

His first marriage broke down in the 1990s but he re-married Beverley, who lived in Newcastle. They continued to live in separate counties. He was convicted for drink driving in 2004 after which he resigned from the police and moved to Newcastle.

His drink problems increased until he separated from Beverley in 2006.

In a statement his eldest daughter Natasha Durham said: “His drinking continued and got worse but he never admitted having an issue with it. He made any excuse possible and would always be drunk.”

Assistant deputy coroner Simon Ward recorded a verdict of death by natural causes as alcohol did not show up in the post mortem or toxicology reports.

He added: “I accept he may have had an problem with alcohol but it did not play a part in his death.”

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