A RECLUSIVE pensioner lay dead among piles of rubbish in his Hampshire home for eight months before his body was found, an inquest heard.
Like a hamster, Denis Walsby had collected rubbish which he used to turn his own front room into a makeshift nest.
The 74-year-old died surrounded by everything he had been hoarding, including bags of rubbish and cardboard boxes, an inquest heard.
The alarm was only raised when a postman saw mail piled up inside the porch.
PC Lindsay Miell told the hearing that after breaking down the door she saw boxes and papers “piled from the door to the ceiling” in the house in Romsey. She also noticed an infestation of flies.
She said: “It was hugely cluttered to the point that I couldn’t step inside the doorway.
"The thing that immediately struck me was the smell.”
Above: The nest made from rubbish in Mr Walsby's home
PC Miell found Mr Walsby’s decomposed body at the foot of the stairs under a pile of papers in December last year.
But the inquest heard that due to the date on the piles of mail Mr Walsby could have died eight months earlier, in April last year.
In his final months Mr Walsby was living downstairs among the clutter at the end-ofterrace house in Ashford Way.
PC Miell told the inquest: “It also appeared in the last stages of his life that he had created a small nest for himself.
“It was where he had basically done everything.”
A post-mortem found that Mr Walsby had died from a head injury although it is uncertain how he sustained it.
Delivering a verdict of accidental death, Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short said: “Because of the period of time which has elapsed it’s not possible to ascertain whether he had been drinking, for example, and then fallen, or if he had a fall because he tripped.”
He added: “He was clearly a very reclusive man who preferred his own company.”
Mr Walsby had not had contact with any family for years.
Above: Mr Walsby on his wedding day
His ex-wife Joyce, 69, who lives in Rownhams, was a witness at the inquest but the last contact she had with him was 30 years ago.
She said they had moved to the then new-build home in Ashford Way in 1970 when they were both working
for Ordnance Survey.
With no children, the couple divorced in 1982 after his wife claimed she was the victim of “mental cruelty”, the inquest
Her ex-husband retired in 1984 and she never spoke to him again.
It was only after Mr Walsby died that she met his cousin, Robert Lucas, who it appears is his last surviving relative.
Mr Walsby would holiday in Germany and would visit Robert at his home in Camberley, Surrey, on his way home.
He was last seen at a family funeral in 2001.
Mr Lucas said: “He had turned up in quite sloppy dress for a funeral and was drinking quite heavily at that time.”
The last time he spoke to Mr Walsby was in 2006.
He said: “I just phoned him to say, ‘How are you?’. He was quite short, quite curt on the phone.”
Little is known about the last ten years of Mr Walsby’s life.
A taxi driver with Hampshire firm Samtax, Richard Heather, remembers taking him on weekly shopping trips.
He said: “He never used to complain about his health.”
Mr Walsby’s neighbour, Karen Stewart, said she had knocked on his front door several times each year.
She said would only see him once every few months and could have been the last person to have spoken to him.
She said: “I felt so awful [when I heard that he’d died], I was in tears.”