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'Recluse' was found dead after concerned neighbour called police

PUBLISHED: 15:20 29 April 2019 | UPDATED: 16:26 29 April 2019

Raymond Meakins died in a layby in Erpingham, an inquest opening at Norfolk Coroners Court heard. Photo: ANTONY KELLY

Raymond Meakins died in a layby in Erpingham, an inquest opening at Norfolk Coroners Court heard. Photo: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A man who was described as a 'recluse' was found dead at his home after a neighbour became concerned for his safety.

Andrew Willis, 66, of Crown Meadow, Kenninghall, had no known family and was found dead by a police officer on his living room floor on December 7 last year.

Around a week before he died, he was helped by neighbours into his home after he was found slumped on the floor at his doorstep.

At an inquest at Norfolk Coroner's Court on Monday, his medical cause of death was recorded as unascertained although a post mortem report described it as a sudden unexplained death after alcohol misuse, with evidence of cirrhosis of the liver.

In a written statement submitted to court by his friend Andrew Esponda, from Chelmsford, Mr Willis was revealed to be an only child and both of his parents died before he moved to Norfolk from Chelmsford in 2010.

Mr Esponda said Mr Willis enjoyed drinking and he kept in touch with his friend of 17 years every Christmas and the two would send CDs to each other of their favourite artists.

Mr Willis's neighbour, Yvonne Shrimpton, said in her statement that he lived as a recluse and was a private person 'who struggled with everyday life'.

Her neighbours told her that when Mr Willis needed help getting into the house, around a week before he died, he did not appear to have been drinking.

When she did not see or hear from him since the incident, she knocked on his door and called his phone on December 6, but called the police the following day after not receiving a response,

“I was concerned about him,” she said. “I hadn't seen him since my neighbours helped him into the house.

“I was worried about him so I called the police.”

Senior coroner for Norfolk, Jacqueline Lake, concluded that, although there was no evidence of alcohol in his system at post mortem, Mr Willis died of alcohol-related causes.

She said: “It's not known what happened in the immediate period before his death.

“There's evidence that he did drink alcohol and the post mortem [examination] did find associated cirrhosis of the liver.”

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