DEATH BY SHED

A pensioner was found dead in his garden wedged between a tree and a shed ten days after he was locked out of his house, an inquest heard today.

Ronald Rutter’s decomposing body was spotted by neighbours who saw his legs over the fence.

Police closed off the road after discovering rifles and a hand grenade dating back from the war
following a search of the 91-year-old’s home, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard.

Mr Rutter, who was also known by the surname West, had called on his neighbour after he was locked out of his home in Lower Richmond Road, in Putney, sw London on October 26 last year.

Leila Talani called a locksmith to assist the elderly man, who rarely left his house, but Mr Rutter refused to pay him and instead chose to climb over the garden fence.

His body was found ten days later on November 6.

Ms Talani said in a statement read to the court: ‘I looked out the front and saw my neighbour throwing stones at his front door.

‘I went outside to ask what had happened, he told me that he had been locked out.’

Mr Rutter first called the police but they refused to come round so his neighbour then called a locksmith.

She said: ‘I remember thinking how slim and frail he looked.

‘He looked in a bad condition, was not very clean and did not smell very nice.’

Mr Rutter agreed to pay the locksmith in cash, but when he arrived an hour later Ms Talani was told to come back outside where an argument had started between the two men.

She went back into her home and a short while later her friend knocked on her door with Mr Rutter.

‘He pushed me and pushed past,’ said Ms Talani.

‘I said he could not do that as it was my home.’

But the pensioner went into the kitchen and opened the back door and said he was going to climb over the fence.

He also took a ladder over with him as he clambered up onto a garden table to access the roof of his shed.

‘I asked if he was ok and he said ‘Yeah’,’ Ms Talani added.

‘I did not hear screaming or calling so I assumed he was alright.’

Ms Talani said she did not think it was unusual that she did not see him after that night as she only ever saw him when he took out the bins once a week.

But ten days later, another neighbour called the emergency services after seeing the old man’s legs by the shed.

PC Neil Mickewright told the coroner that Mr Rutter was identified from his freedom travel pass in his pocket at around 11.20am on November 6.

His face was badly decomposed and there had been ‘extensive damage by maggot action’, the inquest heard.

On searching the house police found rifles and hand grenades along with other war memorabilia all in ‘perfect condition’.

The road was temporarily closed whilst the explosive was examined.

A post mortem gave the cause of death as positional asphyxia and hypothermia.

Mr Rutter, who was born to a single woman after she had an affair with a married doctor, was unofficially adopted after his birth.

He was never married and preferred his own company. He was once diagnosed with mild learning difficulties but had never registered with a GP and was otherwise in very good health for a man of his years..

Dr Shirley Radcliffe said it was a very ‘interesting and remarkable story’.

‘The probable conclusion is that he has died as a result of an accident.

‘During the climbing over the fence and down the ladder something has happened and he has found himself on the ground and unable to get up again.

‘That has lead to the positional asphyxia.’

Verdict: Accident.