Beds, Herts & Bucks

Decomposed body found in Milton Keynes after house break-in

Fletcher Mews
Image caption Mr Rutledge was found dead at his home in Fletcher Mews, Neath Hill, Milton Keynes, in January

The decomposed remains of a man were found by police responding to reports an intruder "with a circular saw" was at a house, an inquest was told.

Thomas Rutledge, 51 - found on a mattress in his "cluttered" home - may have been dead for three weeks, Milton Keynes coroner's court heard.

Mr Rutledge had "lived a lonely and troubled life", the hearing was told.

He had had schizophrenia and had had little contact with his family in 30 years, coroner Tom Osborne heard.

Image caption Neighbours had called police after reports of an intruder trying to get in using an electric saw

Neighbours often complained of late night anti-social behaviour at the house, in Fletcher Mews, and believed Mr Rutledge was being "exploited" by drug dealers.

A housing officer with Milton Keynes Council told the hearing his home was the subject of a "closure order", where visits were stopped so that Mr Rutledge could access support.

However, at 14:30 BST on 26 January, police were called to reports of a man "trying to break in" through a boarded-up panel on his front door "using a circular saw".

Officers arrived to find Mr Rutledge's body "half covered by blankets" face up on a mattress inside.

The saw was later discovered discarded in a bin outside.

Image caption Senior coroner Tom Osborne heard Mr Rutledge may have been dead for nearly three weeks

A report prepared by forensic pathologist Sir Alexander Kolar revealed no evidence of "assault, injuries or trauma", but that Mr Rutledge suffered from a lung disease.

He may have died a few days before - or even as far back as 6 January, Dr Kolar added.

Pneumonia and hypothermia could not be ruled out, but the exact cause of death was "obscured by decomposition".

Senior coroner Mr Osborne concluded Mr Rutledge, who was identified by his tattoos, had died from natural causes.

"He lived a very lonely and troubled life, and his death was on similar terms," he said.

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