Nine-month wait for answers over evicted man who ‘froze to death’
- Credit: Archant
The family of a man who reportedly froze to death outside the home he had been evicted from may finally get some answers nine months on.
Anthony Barnard, 57, was found dead outside his former home on Priors Close in Lowestoft on December 28 last year.
He had been made bankrupt and evicted from the house three months earlier.
On December 27 a neighbour contacted social services when they saw Mr Barnard outside the house.
They passed the report on to police who in turn contacted the ambulance service.
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But paramedics did not respond as Mr Barnard had no apparent medical issues. Police did not respond to the report either.
A neighbour then phoned 999 the next morning, around 16 hours after the first report, by which point Mr Barnard had died in freezing conditions overnight.
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Nine months after his death, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is investigating the police's role, has now interviewed the call handler.
In a letter to Mr Barnard's brother, Jeremy, this week they wrote: 'As a result of that interview, I have identified some additional lines of enquiry which I am in the process of following up.'
Mr Barnard, who also lives in Lowestoft, said: 'I'm worried things are being delayed.
'At the end of the day something went wrong and I'd just like the truth to come out.
'I just hope it will mean it will not happen again.'
Mr Barnard said the police call handler rather than the ambulance service had questions to answer.
'The police were phoned and once they knew the ambulance was not going to turn up they should have turned up,' he said.
The 56-year-old said his brother was being chased for debts for around two years before he was finally evicted.
He was declared bankrupt and went to live with his mum nearby in September.
Jeremy said letters from bailiffs and court summonses then began arriving at his mum's home.
He added his brother had been unable to work for years because of health problems.
'He had not been well for a long time. He had a drinking problem,' Mr Barnard said.
A spokesperson for the IOPC said: 'Our investigation is ongoing and work has begun on writing the final report ahead of finalising a number of lines of enquiry.
'A member of staff with Suffolk Police has been served a notice that he is under investigation and has been interviewed. We have obtained accounts from a number of other officers and staff with Suffolk Police as part of our investigation.
'We are providing monthly updates on the progress of the investigation to Mr Barnard's family in which they are invited to contact us if they have any concerns.'
Suffolk Police declined to comment.