A Doncaster man lay fatally injured at the foot of his stairs in plain view of people using a busy main road for hours before anyone contacted emergency services, a court heard.
Doncaster Coroners’ Court was told how after falling down the set of ‘steep stairs’ in his Maltby property, Nigel Wheeler, aged 48, lay unconscious in his hallway with his front door wide open.
The court heard how Mr Wheeler had most likely left the front door at the Morrell Street property, which opens straight out on to the pavement, open when he returned home at around 1,35pm on September 21 last year.
In a statement read out in court, Mr Wheeler’s neighbour, Barbara Nuns was at home on the afternoon of September 21, and was alerted to ‘a man lying asleep on the floor downstairs’ at the house next door by one of her grandchildren, who was visiting at the time.
Mrs Nuns mentioned what she had been told to her daughter-in-law Stacey McGorry and this information was then passed on to the owner of the Best One Convenience Store, Rajinder Singh, which was located opposite the two Morrell Street properties.
“I noticed that the door was left open during the afternoon,” said Mr Singh, via a submitted statement.
He continued: “At first I didn’t think of it.
“My daughter’s car was parked opposite in front of the house so I couldn’t see in properly.
“Throughout the course of the day a few people mentioned it to me, and then later on a regular customer said she had seen a man passed out on the floor and was wondering what we should do.
“I told my son to call the emergency services, and about 25-30 minutes later the police turned up outside.”
Mr Wheeler, who battled a severe alcohol addiction for over two decades, was taken to Rotherham General Hospital for treatment, but passed away in the early hours of the following day on September 22. Forensic pathologist,Dr Phillip Lumb, confirmed that Mr Wheeler died from an ‘un-survivable’ head injury.
Mr Wheeler was also found to have traces of prescription medication and a ‘high’ level of alcohol in his bloodstream, which was consistent with an empty bottle of vodka and beer cans found on his bedside cabinet.
The court was told how Mr Wheeler’s alcohol dependency was first noticed by his family when the dad-of-two was in his early 20s and appeared to have become reliant on alcohol after finding it difficult to find work.
This subsequently led to the breakdown of his marriage, and put a strain on his relationships with family members including his two children, Emma and Matthew.
Assistant Doncaster Coroner, Mark Beresford delivered a conclusion of accidental death. Mr Beresford passed on his sincere condolences to Mr Wheeler’s family.