The family of a man whose body was found in a public toilet in Ely are making plans to claim for compensation from East Cambridgeshire District Council for leaving him in a cubicle.
Justin Baker was found dead on February 7th in the Sacrist Gate public toilets. The cleaner had noticed that the cubicle was locked at 4:45pm the previous day and checked on the cubicle several times before her shift ended at quarter past six, knocking on the door each time. She noticed a bag on the floor and at one point heard a groan from the cubicle so she was sure that someone was inside.
Unsure and worried that someone had fallen asleep inside she rung her supervisor, who said he would check and lock the toilets later that evening. The supervisor – Derek Mitchell – did not follow through with this however, claiming he was too tired. Mr Baker’s body was found by a passer-by the following morning.
An inquest heard that Justin Baker had become depressed after the death of his brother. There was evidence that Justin injected himself with heroin despite evidence that he did not have a drug problem. The opiate coupled with alcohol Mr Baker had consumed caused respiratory failure.
Mr Baker’s family are now planning to claim compensation from the Council claiming that if they called for the emergency services instead of leaving him in the cubicle, it is possible he could have survived. The family claim the council showed “no humanity”.
The Council has stated it will re-assess procedures to deal with such incidents. Mr Mitchell is no longer in employment by the Council.