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Obsessive hoarder's body is found entombed in rubbish


Jan. 17, 2020

Obsessive hoarder's body is found buried amid so much rubbish that it took specialist cleaners five hours to remove the 62-year-old from his home
An obsessive hoarder's body was found buried amid so much rubbish that it took specialist cleaners five hours to remove the 62-year-old from his home.
The man, named locally as James Pettit, 63, was entombed by mountains of junk in the decrepit upstairs maisonette in Erdington, Birmingham .
Three flat-bed trucks were filled with detritus by council staff before the body of the former National Grid worker could be removed.
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A narrow staircase leading up to the tiny flat could be seen littered with papers, bottles and rubbish.
And a source admitted: 'It was ten times worse upstairs.
'The police said it was too dangerous and unsafe to move the body. They had to call for assistance to clear a path.'
Mr Pettit lived at the property for around four decades, neighbours said.
He suffered an accident two years ago when he tripped down his cluttered stairs and smashed through a glass door.
Yet neighbours said Mr Pettit always appeared in public well turned out. He was seen getting into a Bentley weeks ago.
One neighbour said: 'The strange thing is that he always appeared well-dressed when you did see him. You'd see him walking down the street with his dry cleaning.
'That was the thing that always struck me - he would get his clothes dry cleaned and then go back into that flat.
'I went into his house 25 years ago and there was no room to move. It could only have got worse since then.'
Another resident said: 'He was a very quiet man but he had a good job at the gas board. Apparently, he was paid well.
'He would get taxis everywhere. Only a couple of weeks ago I saw him getting into a Bentley.'
Police, who were called to the address on Tuesday afternoon after police became worried about the recluse, remained at the scene the following day.
Environmental health officers summoned four flat-bed trucks to remove rubbish and were seen raking litter down the stairs.
West Midlands Police said: 'Police were called to a property on in the Erdington area of Birmingham after concerns were raised for the welfare of a man just before 4pm on Tuesday, 14 January.
'Sadly, the body of a 63-year-old man was found. The death is not being treated as suspicious and has been referred to the coroner.'
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