A FARNBOROUGH man may have lain dead in his flat for four days before his body was discovered, an inquest heard on Tuesday.

Sixty-two-year-old Anthony White, known as Tony, was found in his Montgomery Road home on October 22.

A post-mortem at Frimley Park Hospital the following day found that there was no single event to cause the death.

John Smith told the Basingstoke inquest that Mr White, whom he regarded as his best friend, had been registered disabled after an accident at work.

He had turned to drink and would sometimes get through a bottle of whisky every day.

Mr Smith added: “I would visit him once or twice a week at home. He would always telephone on Thursday and Sunday mornings to check the lottery numbers.”

He last went to see his friend on the evening of Thursday October 17. The following Sunday he did not receive the regular phone call.

He went to his home but Mr White did not answer the door, and when there was no answer to a further phone call on the Tuesday, Mr Smith became concerned.

“I looked through the letter box and the heat and the smell was strong. I then telephoned the police.”

Coroner, Andrew Bradley, said that the degree of discolouration of Mr White’s skin suggested he had been dead for some time.

Kathleen White, who had separated from Mr White some years earlier, said that her former husband had a history of alcohol abuse.

“In 1987 he hurt his back and he was in hospital for about a year, but he continued to drink. He later went to the Ridgewood Centre for alcoholism and to a hospital in Epsom.

“It was very hard for my sons. When he came home he was sober for about 18 months.”

In 1997 Tony went back to the Epsom hospital but he discharged himself. It was at that time that Mr and Mrs White decided to separate.

She continued: “I last saw him on October 9 in Cove Road when he was going to post a letter. I telephoned him on the 19th and asked him if he had received something I had posted to him. The following day I saw that his lights were on at the end of the road.”

Coroner Andrew Bradley said that it was most likely that Mr White fell on the night of the 18th when he was going to bed.

Pc Debbie Barnes, community beat officer in Farnborough, was one of the first officers to discover the body.

She was called to the address at 1.40pm and used a neighbour’s key to enter the flat. “The heating and the lights were on and the lights were on. The curtains were drawn and there was a strong smell.

“There was a man on the floor facing the window. His head was about an inch away from a hot radiator. The telephone was on the floor and there appeared to be an injury to the top of his head.”

Pc Barnes said that there was no sign of any struggle in the flat.

Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Mr Bradley said that there were no drugs or drink involved.

“He had been feeling off colour, but at the time of his death he had not been drinking.

“The deterioration of Tony was very disturbing and upsetting for his family. I am satisfied that it was not an unnatural death.”