Sean Cruise lay dead and undiscovered for almost a week - despite carers searching for him

Daily Echo: Man lay dead in his home for six days after carers visited Man lay dead in his home for six days after carers visited

THE BODY of a Southampton man lay undiscovered in his small flat for almost a week – despite carers searching it three days after his death.

Those charged with visiting and caring for Sean Cruise failed to spot his dead body lying on the floor by a radiator, even though they went in and opened the curtains directly above him.

Instead, his apparent disappearance sparked a major missing persons' inquiry with Hampshire police who spent three days searching for him – but didn’t bother looking in his home.

It was six days after he died that the 52-year-old was eventually discovered when officers finally gained entry to his home and found him dead on the floor.

At an inquest into Mr Cruise’s death, Hampshire coroner Gordon Denson slammed health bosses and described a “considerable breakdown” in the care he was given before he died.

His brother Seamus also told the hearing: “Someone needs to be held accountable so that it doesn't happen someone else. That is all we can ask for.”

He also questioned how nobody spotted him on the floor, adding: “Whoever drew the curtains would have tripped over the body.”

The court heard how he was living alone in an apartment in Atherley Road, Shirley, in a house where others also lived.

There he was visited regularly by NHS Southern Health’s community health team and representatives of the Society of St James, a registered charity that helps the homeless in Southampton.

The inquest was told how alarms bells rang when Mr Cruise, who suffered from schizophrenia, failed to attend a doctor’s appointment in December last year.

Before his death, he had refused to allow care workers into his home for several weeks, making it difficult for his care team to determine how ill he was, despite him living in “squalor”.

But Southern Health and the Society of St James insisted he was receiving regular treatment from his GP and was visited by a care coordinator and support worker.

Sue Grantham, care coordinator with NHS Southern Health’s community health team, told the inquest that she searched his flat, knowing he had not been seen for three days. She had been accompanied by a care worker for the Society of St James, and a representative from property landlords Stonham when they entered the flat on December 27.

She told the hearing: “I find it very difficult to think that I was walking around the room and didn’t see him.

“I genuinely didn’t see him. That has been a mystery to me throughout the whole thing to think that he could have been in there and I didn’t see him.”

Police were called and a missing persons’ investigation was launched, the court was told.

But it was another three days before Mr Cruise was finally found, lying in a pool of vomit, when police searched the flat themselves.

Consultant pathologist Jeffrey Theaker told the court that a post mortem found Mr Cruise had died from a heart attack.

Determining a verdict of death by natural causes deputy coroner Gordon Denson said: “I consider that there was a considerable breakdown in the level of care that Sean should have been expected to receive during the latter part of his life.

He added that he hoped that a report compiled by Southern Health admitting failings in this instance will be “fully implemented so that the failings in his case will not occur again to individuals in the care of Southern Health”.

Panel CARE bosses today insisted lessons had been learned as a result of Mr Cruise’s death.

A spokesman from Southern Health NHS said: “As Sean became more unwell, it became more difficult to support him and our staff struggled to gain access to his flat.

“We have investigated the way we were supporting Sean and, although we were providing regular care, a more assertive approach may have improved the level of contact we were able to achieve.”

A spokesman from Society of St James said Sean was living in a scheme allowing him independence and that it remained “proud” of its work in the community.

They said: “The scheme is not designed to provide daily monitoring of clients, as this reduces independence and prevents people developing independent life skills.

“The society ensured that Mr Cruise was visited several times a week, having regular contact with staff.”

Hampshire Police, who were quizzed by the coroner about why they failed to carry out an immediate search of Mr Cruise’s home when he was reported missing, could not provide any comment.

Comments (25)

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8:45am Tue 27 May 14

Taskforce 141 says...

Absolutely disgraceful!

What will it take to sort out care standards in England?
Absolutely disgraceful! What will it take to sort out care standards in England? Taskforce 141
  • Score: -1

9:30am Tue 27 May 14

Dai Rear says...

Does it remind you of an episode in the Simpsons where Chief Wiggum misses Homer locked in the garage because he's eating a pizza? But, in the first instance responsibility has got to be with family, neighbours, friends. The State , i.e. "carers" is not particularly good at doing anything. We expect too much of it. It isn't going to change. In fact, as the State has taken on more and more, since 1948, it's got notably worse and worse at it-and at the things it's supposed to do, like keeping the peace, protecting us against our enemies and denying admittance to aliens .
Does it remind you of an episode in the Simpsons where Chief Wiggum misses Homer locked in the garage because he's eating a pizza? But, in the first instance responsibility has got to be with family, neighbours, friends. The State , i.e. "carers" is not particularly good at doing anything. We expect too much of it. It isn't going to change. In fact, as the State has taken on more and more, since 1948, it's got notably worse and worse at it-and at the things it's supposed to do, like keeping the peace, protecting us against our enemies and denying admittance to aliens . Dai Rear
  • Score: 10

10:27am Tue 27 May 14

sparkster says...

what a disgrace, the chap lived in a flat howl arge is a flat that you dont notice a dead body and I thought there would have been a smell by then after 6 days
what a disgrace, the chap lived in a flat howl arge is a flat that you dont notice a dead body and I thought there would have been a smell by then after 6 days sparkster
  • Score: 7

10:27am Tue 27 May 14

batesieboy says...

Taskforce 141 wrote:
Absolutely disgraceful!

What will it take to sort out care standards in England?
Maybe it needs families to take a bit more care of their relations??!!
[quote][p][bold]Taskforce 141[/bold] wrote: Absolutely disgraceful! What will it take to sort out care standards in England?[/p][/quote]Maybe it needs families to take a bit more care of their relations??!! batesieboy
  • Score: 33

10:52am Tue 27 May 14

waltons11 says...

How I hate the expression "lessons have been learned". No they have not and they never will. Southern Health told my family 7 years ago that "lessons had been learned" but we see exactly the same scenario every few weeks in the news. Talk is cheap - they should be held accountable for their failings. I do agree also that there is such a thing as "family responsibility", however not everyone has family or family that are local to them and they rely on outside help.
How I hate the expression "lessons have been learned". No they have not and they never will. Southern Health told my family 7 years ago that "lessons had been learned" but we see exactly the same scenario every few weeks in the news. Talk is cheap - they should be held accountable for their failings. I do agree also that there is such a thing as "family responsibility", however not everyone has family or family that are local to them and they rely on outside help. waltons11
  • Score: -3

11:00am Tue 27 May 14

BeyondImagination says...

The care workers should have gone to Specsavers.
The care workers should have gone to Specsavers. BeyondImagination
  • Score: -12

11:52am Tue 27 May 14

Hampshire Corn and Bread says...

sparkster wrote:
what a disgrace, the chap lived in a flat howl arge is a flat that you dont notice a dead body and I thought there would have been a smell by then after 6 days
Unfortunately, I get the impression that the flat already had a pervading smell.

I feel for the lady who can't understand not seeing the body, sometimes we just don't see things.
[quote][p][bold]sparkster[/bold] wrote: what a disgrace, the chap lived in a flat howl arge is a flat that you dont notice a dead body and I thought there would have been a smell by then after 6 days[/p][/quote]Unfortunately, I get the impression that the flat already had a pervading smell. I feel for the lady who can't understand not seeing the body, sometimes we just don't see things. Hampshire Corn and Bread
  • Score: 5

12:21pm Tue 27 May 14

southy says...

Dai Rear wrote:
Does it remind you of an episode in the Simpsons where Chief Wiggum misses Homer locked in the garage because he's eating a pizza? But, in the first instance responsibility has got to be with family, neighbours, friends. The State , i.e. "carers" is not particularly good at doing anything. We expect too much of it. It isn't going to change. In fact, as the State has taken on more and more, since 1948, it's got notably worse and worse at it-and at the things it's supposed to do, like keeping the peace, protecting us against our enemies and denying admittance to aliens .
Let get this right Dai Rear.
Its NOT the state NHS, but one of the many private sectors Agency's / Charity's that run parts of the NHS and have there fingers in the £120 million a day that it cost us to keep these private sectors in the NHS, The NHS as no say in how these private sectors operate or its running its the other way round the private sector tells the NHS what to do. and its your Private sector that,s at fault and not the NHS but because none of the private sector will take on the responsibility when they make errors/mistakes some one as to take the blame.
There use to be a saying with in the NHS as it use to be, before Thatcher and all those that came after mess it up, "A bed pan drop in ward it was heard all the way to the Home-Office" (meaning if a mistake was made the buck stop at the Home-Office and took responsibility) now days no private sector wants to take on the responsibility for there mistakes so they pass the buck on to some else.
[quote][p][bold]Dai Rear[/bold] wrote: Does it remind you of an episode in the Simpsons where Chief Wiggum misses Homer locked in the garage because he's eating a pizza? But, in the first instance responsibility has got to be with family, neighbours, friends. The State , i.e. "carers" is not particularly good at doing anything. We expect too much of it. It isn't going to change. In fact, as the State has taken on more and more, since 1948, it's got notably worse and worse at it-and at the things it's supposed to do, like keeping the peace, protecting us against our enemies and denying admittance to aliens .[/p][/quote]Let get this right Dai Rear. Its NOT the state NHS, but one of the many private sectors Agency's / Charity's that run parts of the NHS and have there fingers in the £120 million a day that it cost us to keep these private sectors in the NHS, The NHS as no say in how these private sectors operate or its running its the other way round the private sector tells the NHS what to do. and its your Private sector that,s at fault and not the NHS but because none of the private sector will take on the responsibility when they make errors/mistakes some one as to take the blame. There use to be a saying with in the NHS as it use to be, before Thatcher and all those that came after mess it up, "A bed pan drop in ward it was heard all the way to the Home-Office" (meaning if a mistake was made the buck stop at the Home-Office and took responsibility) now days no private sector wants to take on the responsibility for there mistakes so they pass the buck on to some else. southy
  • Score: -2

12:46pm Tue 27 May 14

sparkster says...

He may not have been seen but regardless of the smell of the place i understand that decom smell cannot be mistaken, my mum has carers and thankfully they are vigilant
He may not have been seen but regardless of the smell of the place i understand that decom smell cannot be mistaken, my mum has carers and thankfully they are vigilant sparkster
  • Score: 5

12:54pm Tue 27 May 14

townieboy says...

batesieboy wrote:
Taskforce 141 wrote: Absolutely disgraceful! What will it take to sort out care standards in England?
Maybe it needs families to take a bit more care of their relations??!!
Not everyone has living relatives...........
.......Even then not all visit each other.
[quote][p][bold]batesieboy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Taskforce 141[/bold] wrote: Absolutely disgraceful! What will it take to sort out care standards in England?[/p][/quote]Maybe it needs families to take a bit more care of their relations??!![/p][/quote]Not everyone has living relatives........... .......Even then not all visit each other. townieboy
  • Score: 0

12:59pm Tue 27 May 14

Dai Rear says...

Wrong kind of HHS, eh, Southy. Original Sin traceable back to your Anti-Christ. The outfit in question is a public sector hybrid. The public sector doesn't do things well. They didn't when Wilson was PM. They didn't when Attlee was PM. No amount of cash makes a difference. One can't pass responsibilities on to the State because it is effectively an employment machine. Would you have liked the State to run retail food distribution when Callaghan was PM? Anorexia would have been compulsory.
Wrong kind of HHS, eh, Southy. Original Sin traceable back to your Anti-Christ. The outfit in question is a public sector hybrid. The public sector doesn't do things well. They didn't when Wilson was PM. They didn't when Attlee was PM. No amount of cash makes a difference. One can't pass responsibilities on to the State because it is effectively an employment machine. Would you have liked the State to run retail food distribution when Callaghan was PM? Anorexia would have been compulsory. Dai Rear
  • Score: 4

1:21pm Tue 27 May 14

southy says...

Dai Rear wrote:
Wrong kind of HHS, eh, Southy. Original Sin traceable back to your Anti-Christ. The outfit in question is a public sector hybrid. The public sector doesn't do things well. They didn't when Wilson was PM. They didn't when Attlee was PM. No amount of cash makes a difference. One can't pass responsibilities on to the State because it is effectively an employment machine. Would you have liked the State to run retail food distribution when Callaghan was PM? Anorexia would have been compulsory.
No just putting you right, and stop trying to put up a smoke screen it will not work with me.
[quote][p][bold]Dai Rear[/bold] wrote: Wrong kind of HHS, eh, Southy. Original Sin traceable back to your Anti-Christ. The outfit in question is a public sector hybrid. The public sector doesn't do things well. They didn't when Wilson was PM. They didn't when Attlee was PM. No amount of cash makes a difference. One can't pass responsibilities on to the State because it is effectively an employment machine. Would you have liked the State to run retail food distribution when Callaghan was PM? Anorexia would have been compulsory.[/p][/quote]No just putting you right, and stop trying to put up a smoke screen it will not work with me. southy
  • Score: -13

1:54pm Tue 27 May 14

espanuel says...

waltons11 wrote:
How I hate the expression "lessons have been learned". No they have not and they never will. Southern Health told my family 7 years ago that "lessons had been learned" but we see exactly the same scenario every few weeks in the news. Talk is cheap - they should be held accountable for their failings. I do agree also that there is such a thing as "family responsibility", however not everyone has family or family that are local to them and they rely on outside help.
(Lessons have been learned) a get out clause used by so many when a clanger has been dropped.
[quote][p][bold]waltons11[/bold] wrote: How I hate the expression "lessons have been learned". No they have not and they never will. Southern Health told my family 7 years ago that "lessons had been learned" but we see exactly the same scenario every few weeks in the news. Talk is cheap - they should be held accountable for their failings. I do agree also that there is such a thing as "family responsibility", however not everyone has family or family that are local to them and they rely on outside help.[/p][/quote](Lessons have been learned) a get out clause used by so many when a clanger has been dropped. espanuel
  • Score: 7

3:43pm Tue 27 May 14

Dai Rear says...

southy wrote:
Dai Rear wrote:
Wrong kind of HHS, eh, Southy. Original Sin traceable back to your Anti-Christ. The outfit in question is a public sector hybrid. The public sector doesn't do things well. They didn't when Wilson was PM. They didn't when Attlee was PM. No amount of cash makes a difference. One can't pass responsibilities on to the State because it is effectively an employment machine. Would you have liked the State to run retail food distribution when Callaghan was PM? Anorexia would have been compulsory.
No just putting you right, and stop trying to put up a smoke screen it will not work with me.
Southy did you write that famous headline "Kaiser Wilhelm, the Skibereen Eagle has its eye on you" I bet you did.
[quote][p][bold]southy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Dai Rear[/bold] wrote: Wrong kind of HHS, eh, Southy. Original Sin traceable back to your Anti-Christ. The outfit in question is a public sector hybrid. The public sector doesn't do things well. They didn't when Wilson was PM. They didn't when Attlee was PM. No amount of cash makes a difference. One can't pass responsibilities on to the State because it is effectively an employment machine. Would you have liked the State to run retail food distribution when Callaghan was PM? Anorexia would have been compulsory.[/p][/quote]No just putting you right, and stop trying to put up a smoke screen it will not work with me.[/p][/quote]Southy did you write that famous headline "Kaiser Wilhelm, the Skibereen Eagle has its eye on you" I bet you did. Dai Rear
  • Score: 10

4:48pm Tue 27 May 14

Nearly an OAP says...

I have heard many horror stories regarding carers in Southampton visiting clients in their own accommodation, including the ongoing saga of my brother-in-law's mother. Very rarely are carers sacked by their employer for failing to do their duty properly. I would like to see neglect of their clients carry a mandatory jail sentence but this would almost certainly be vetoed by the court of human rights in the EU.
I have heard many horror stories regarding carers in Southampton visiting clients in their own accommodation, including the ongoing saga of my brother-in-law's mother. Very rarely are carers sacked by their employer for failing to do their duty properly. I would like to see neglect of their clients carry a mandatory jail sentence but this would almost certainly be vetoed by the court of human rights in the EU. Nearly an OAP
  • Score: -8

4:52pm Tue 27 May 14

Huey says...

Urghhh imagine the smell
Urghhh imagine the smell Huey
  • Score: -19

6:01pm Tue 27 May 14

Solomon's Boot says...

Where's the 'neglect' of a guy who was living independently and died of a heart attack? They negleted to find him, yes, but you can't accuse them of letting him die of neglect!!
Where's the 'neglect' of a guy who was living independently and died of a heart attack? They negleted to find him, yes, but you can't accuse them of letting him die of neglect!! Solomon's Boot
  • Score: 30

6:40pm Tue 27 May 14

skeptik says...

Nearly an OAP - the ECHR is not the EU. This human rights thing is a bit of a bogey man. Since 2011 99% of UK cases have been struck out by the court as inadmissible - of 21 cases against the UK only ten were upheld.
Nearly an OAP - the ECHR is not the EU. This human rights thing is a bit of a bogey man. Since 2011 99% of UK cases have been struck out by the court as inadmissible - of 21 cases against the UK only ten were upheld. skeptik
  • Score: 0

7:13pm Tue 27 May 14

Baybrit says...

"Panel CARE bosses today insisted lessons had been learned as a result of Mr Cruise’s death"..........In future, all care workers entering an abode to search for a patient will be required to take their SEEING EYE DOGS with them!
"Panel CARE bosses today insisted lessons had been learned as a result of Mr Cruise’s death"..........In future, all care workers entering an abode to search for a patient will be required to take their SEEING EYE DOGS with them! Baybrit
  • Score: -10

7:23pm Tue 27 May 14

sparkster says...

I agree that not all people have living relatives and some of those dont bother with their families
I agree that not all people have living relatives and some of those dont bother with their families sparkster
  • Score: 2

8:31pm Tue 27 May 14

thesouth says...

Sad story for the man in question. Let's not be so quick to judge those involved based on a DE story which clearly is trying to get the sort of public reaction you are giving it, by it's use if language and one side reporting. Let's use our brains on this one, not let the DE tell us what to think.
Sad story for the man in question. Let's not be so quick to judge those involved based on a DE story which clearly is trying to get the sort of public reaction you are giving it, by it's use if language and one side reporting. Let's use our brains on this one, not let the DE tell us what to think. thesouth
  • Score: 15

10:12pm Tue 27 May 14

Huey says...

Well I think it is disgusting
Well I think it is disgusting Huey
  • Score: -6

10:17pm Tue 27 May 14

tohrasup says...

^Exactly, yet more tripe from the gutter rag DE.

why so incredulous that his body was missed? 20 guys with box-cutters beat NORAD and the intelligence and military might of the greatest super power in the world but most lemmings believe that fairy tale.
^Exactly, yet more tripe from the gutter rag DE. why so incredulous that his body was missed? 20 guys with box-cutters beat NORAD and the intelligence and military might of the greatest super power in the world but most lemmings believe that fairy tale. tohrasup
  • Score: -1

9:00am Wed 28 May 14

Dai Rear says...

Solomon's Boot wrote:
Where's the 'neglect' of a guy who was living independently and died of a heart attack? They negleted to find him, yes, but you can't accuse them of letting him die of neglect!!
In fairness it does sound as though he was actually dependent- on welfare, unless I've missed something.
[quote][p][bold]Solomon's Boot[/bold] wrote: Where's the 'neglect' of a guy who was living independently and died of a heart attack? They negleted to find him, yes, but you can't accuse them of letting him die of neglect!![/p][/quote]In fairness it does sound as though he was actually dependent- on welfare, unless I've missed something. Dai Rear
  • Score: 2

7:51pm Mon 2 Jun 14

SophieN says...

Sean Cruise died from natural causes. Sadly with huge cuts both in the care given by Society of St James, where care workers used to be based in their properties daily, now someone 'calls in' each day. Also continued cuts in nhs staff who have to work as best as they can with huge unmanageable caseloads; this can easily happen again. Its very easy to lay blame as some of the previous comments have done but in the main care workers do the best they can with what they have and many work well above the hours they are paid for .... because YES THEY CARE!
Sean Cruise died from natural causes. Sadly with huge cuts both in the care given by Society of St James, where care workers used to be based in their properties daily, now someone 'calls in' each day. Also continued cuts in nhs staff who have to work as best as they can with huge unmanageable caseloads; this can easily happen again. Its very easy to lay blame as some of the previous comments have done but in the main care workers do the best they can with what they have and many work well above the hours they are paid for .... because YES THEY CARE! SophieN
  • Score: 7

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