Body of man discovered after lying in flat for six years
The horrific discovery of his ‘skeletal’ remains wasn’t made until this year
The body of a man, aged 70, was discovered in his flat six years later, highlighting issues of loneliness and neglect.
Robert Alton, a retired bookkeeper, is believed to have lain dead in his flat for six years and was only found when housing officials forced entry to carry out a gas test.
He is thought to have died aged 70 in May 2017, but the horrific discovery of his ‘skeletal’ remains wasn’t made until this year, an inquest heard yesterday.
A court order to enter Mr Alton’s address in Bolton was obtained by landlord Bolton at Home for the visit on March 9th. Officials forced entry and used an angle grinder to cut a security chain.
As reported in The Daily Mail, once inside, unopened letters were piled around 50cm high and Mr Alton’s remains were found at the top of the stairs of his first floor flat, in jeans and a grey jumper.
Police were called to the property.
Detective Sergeant Dominic Beaver of Greater Manchester Police said neighbours hadn’t seen anybody at the flat for at least five years.
Inside the ‘neat’ property, police found a television guide for May 4th, 2017, open with reading glasses left on one of the pages. Food items were also found to have 2017 expiry dates.
The detective added there were no suspicious circumstances. The inquest heard Mr Alton last spoke to Bolton at Home in April 2017, and council tax had been paid up to that year but was then in arrears. He last contacted his GP in 2014.
His rent was still being paid up to the time of his discovery, via housing benefit. Mr Alton was identified through personal items but no relatives have been traced.
Dr Patrick Waugh, pathologist, said it was ‘not possible to determine a cause of death’.
Coroner Peter Sigee said: “On the balance of probabilities Mr Alton died in May 2017. I’m satisfied the appropriate conclusion is an open conclusion.”
Mr Alton’s landlord revealed its visit only came after a change in procedure prompted officials to obtain an access order in court.
The inquest was told that over previous years, officials made 15 visits plus telephone calls and sent dozens of letters seeking to arrange a gas test, all without response – but no further action took place.
After the hearing, Noel Sharpe, chief executive of landlord of Bolton At Home, said: “We offer our heartfelt condolences to Robert’s loved ones, friends and neighbours and apologise to them for the opportunities we missed in finding out why we couldn’t contact Robert.
“In hindsight, we should have spotted sooner that something was potentially wrong.”
An inquest heard that officials visited Mr Alton’s home on two occasions in June 2017 to perform an annual gas safety test. But they obtained no answer at the property and his supply was simply capped without further investigation.
The procedural change which led to Mr Alton’s discovery was not made until 2022.
Amid the cost-of-living crisis, Bolton at Home decided to stop automatically capping gas supplies if tenants had not allowed a safety test, and there was a review of homes where supplies were previously capped.
In light of the incident, Bolton At Home says it now applies for an access warrant immediately when it cannot contact a tenant about a gas test. Its tenant support team also works ‘more closely’ with the gas safety team ‘where there may be welfare concerns’.
M&S share first look inside huge new Stockport store ahead of opening
Shoppers can expect an even ‘bigger, better and fresher’ experience
Marks and Spencer have released first look images of a huge brand new ‘market-style’ Stockport Foodhall ahead of its opening next week.
The retailer has released more details about the massive new Foodhall at Stockport Retail Park to offer residents a picture of how it will look and what to expect before its grand opening on Wednesday June, 14th.
The 16,000 sq ft space promises to offer a ‘fresh market-style design’, with shoppers able to browse displays filled with ‘great quality, trusted value’ produce from the retailer’s Select Farms.
Customers will also be able to pick up freshly baked bread and pastries from its ‘show-stopping’ bakery, including M&S new collection sourdough, which is made using a traditional 30-hour process.
The high street brand confirmed the news of its opening earlier this year where it said it would create more than 70 jobs in the area.
But it has now been confirmed that more than 110 jobs have been created to support the new M&S Foodhall. It comes after the retail giant closed down its Stockport store in Merseyway shopping centre in 2021.
Store Manager, Anna Priest, who has worked at M&S for seven years, said: “We are excited to be sharing a sneak peek of the new Foodhall and are really looking forward to welcoming the community to our new Stockport store when we open next week!
“The new store is packed with so many exciting new features, so we’re really excited to finally open the doors and see local customers experience it for themselves.
“Whether you’re looking for a big family food shop or dropping in for some daily essentials – we’ve got you covered.”
The new M&S Stockport site follows the retailer’s recent announcement it plans to invest £500 million in its store rotation programme, creating over 3,400 new jobs nationwide.
A new full-line store is also set to be created at the former Debenhams site at the Trafford Centre, and another full-line store being created in Liverpool.
Also included in this investment is a new Foodhall in Macclesfield, opening November 30th, and the store in Bury’s the Rock has also been enhanced.
The new Stockport M&S is located at Unit 4B, Stockport Retail Park, Stockport, United Kingdom, SK1 2HH and will be open Monday – Saturday 8am – 8pm, and on Sunday, 10:30am – 4:30pm.
Boy, 15, on e-bike who died after collision with ambulance in Salford named
Local residents and friends have left tributes for the teenager at the scene of the tragedy
A 15-year-old boy riding an e-bike has sadly died after colliding with an ambulance in Salford, after he was followed by the police.
The teenage boy died after crashing into a parked ambulance after being followed by police officers on the afternoon of Thursday, June 10th.
The teenager has been named locally as Saul Cookson.
A huge response of emergency services, including an air ambulance, rushed to the scene at Langworthy Road, Salford, shortly after 2pm.
Officers in a police car began following the teenage boy who was riding an e-bike on Fitzwarren Street at 2pm, but stopped when they were prevented by bollards.
Moments later a ‘collision happened between a cyclist and an ambulance’. Officers were not in pursuit at the point of impact, Greater Manchester Police have said.
The teenager was taken to hospital where he died and the incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
A spokesperson for GMP said: “At around 2pm today, GMP traffic officers began following a boy riding an e-bike along Fitzwarren Street in Salford, onto Lower Seedley Road.
“Bollards prevented the police vehicle from continuing to follow the e-bike. A short time later, a road traffic collision occurred between the e-bike and an ambulance on Langworthy Road. The 15-year-old boy riding the e-bike sadly died.
“In line with normal proceedings, the incident has been referred to IOPC, who are now leading the investigation. A cordon remains in place on Langworthy Road.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the boy who tragically died.”
Locals and friends who knew the 15-year-old have been leaving tributes at the scene of the accident, where a police cordon still remains in place, as flowers have been placed with messages.
One read: “Saul, gone but never forgotten. RIP. I love you always keep smiling your cheeky smile.”
Another said: “Saul. You will always have a special place in my heart. I love you loads my dude.” And a message on a cardboard sign tied to a nearby fence declared: “Kids on bikes don’t kill.”
Mancunian-born brand selling Northern t-shirts and apparel to open first shop
The clothes have proven to be a huge hit amongst northerners
A Mancunian-born Northern slogan clothing brand is opening its first shop next month.
Northern Power Garms was created by makeup artist Jules Daniels, who began selling t-shirts from her house in Manchester after finding herself out of work during the pandemic.
The cool independent clothing and accessories store specialises in hoodies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, baby grows, bags and hats with Northern slang words and phrases such as ‘Ey up’, ‘Absolutely buzzin’ and ‘It’s not grim up north’ — we love this one!
Jules’ idea took off like a rocket and after three years of selling online and gaining over 7,000 followers, her creation Northern Power Garms is now opening its very first in-person shop in Halifax, West Yorkshire.
Adding a delightful pop of colour to Horton Street come July, shoppers can treat themselves to trendy garments that show off how proud they are to be Northern, and will be sure to brighten up many a grey rainy day — and there are many!
Beam Design, who curate bespoke interiors, worked with Jules to help bring her vision of a physical shop to life, creating some stunning CGIs – bringing a slice of Miami to Halifax – for us to have a sneak peek at ahead of its completion.
Last week, Jules shared an update on the transformation of her soon-to-be shop as it undergoes a head-to-toe renovation.
In a caption on the Northern Power Garms’ Instagram page, she wrote: “Two weeks ago I was literally clambering over boards trying not to fall down to the basement and die because there was no floor. Now look at it!
“There’s a floor (!!) and boards are going up on the ceiling and walls. It’s properly starting to come together now.
“We’ve had some incredible floor samples from @polyflorltd and paint samples from @crownpaintsuk – have you seen the visuals we posted, from Helena at @beamdesigninteriors? I could cry with happiness that the team and I will get to work here, every day!
“I met up with a gorgeous new supplier today too! We have some BEAUTIFUL earrings ready to stock, all handmade by Lauren at @plainjaynedesign – if you’re into colour, sparkle and WOW, then these are for you!
“There’s just so much going on, and honestly we cannot wait to get open and welcome you all in! Have you been past the shop? Let us know!”
At the minute, the determined entrepreneur is working hard alongside a team of builders and designers at fitting out the unit along Westgate Arcade, as well as running her online business and updating followers on social media.
But once it’s open, shoppers and curious browsers can expect to step into a world of pretty pastels and modern terrazzo tables with a colour scheme that brings sunny Miami to Halifax, with carefully crafted garments that embody the heart and soul of northernness.
Check out Northern Power Garms online for more, and make sure to visit the shop and its stylish apparel when it opens in July.