2 Sep 2011

Pensioner lay dead in council flat for over a year

4:18 am on 2 September 2011

Wellington City Council is investigating whether an annual check was carried out on one of its flats where an elderly man lay dead for up to 14 months.

The body of pensioner Michael Clarke, 88, was found at the Newtown Park Flats last week.

The council says the flats are scheduled to be rebuilt and Mr Clarke's body was found when work crews tried to gain access to the building.

When there was no reply to their repeated knocking, the police were called and discovered the remains. Mr Clarke's death is not thought to have been suspicious.

The council says its records show an inspection was recorded as having been carried out in November last year and the man's rent and power bills had continued to be paid via automatic payments.

It says tenants are found dead in their flats a couple of times a year.

The council says many elderly people do not like staff taking a constant interest in their business and it is required to respect the privacy of tenants.

Councillor Stephanie Cook told Morning Report the council is not running an institution and council workers can't go barging into homes.

Ms Cook says Mr Clarke had no outstanding bills that would have suggested something was amiss.