Sunday 21 January 2018

Body found after maggots fell through the ceiling, inquest hears

Dublin Coroner’s Court
Dublin Coroner’s Court

Louise Roseingrave

A body lay undiscovered for several weeks in a city centre apartment, an inquest heard.

The body of Daniel Curtain of O’Brien Hall, Gardiner Street, Dublin 1 was found in a badly decomposed state in an apartment next door on September 18 2014.

The deceased was a hoarder, whose apartment was so full of rubbish that he often slept outside, according to a neighbour.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that 53 O'Brien Hall became vacant in July 2014. The front door could be pushed open as it had been broken in by Dublin Fire Brigade responding to an emergency call.

Neighbour Edward Lynch who lives directly below Number 53 raised the alarm when maggots began infesting his apartment.

On September 17 Mr Lynch found maggots falling from the ceiling. He went upstairs and noticed maggots coming from under the door of Number 53. A day later Mr Lynch’s apartment was completely infested with maggots and he called Dublin City Council (DCC).

Staff entered the apartment directly above and found a badly decomposed body.

“When we went in I saw a badly decomposed body lying face down on the floor in the bathroom,” Garda Patrick Dunne said.

Garda Dunne contacted the US embassy, followed by Interpol, in a bid to identify the body and notify relatives.

He found that Mr Curtain was originally from New Jersey and had an ex-wife and son from whom he was estranged. He spoke to the man’s sister, Maura McGreevy, resident in Iowa. She said she wanted nothing to do with the identification process.

DNA analysis matched the body with a profile specimen from a toothbrush taken from Mr Curtain's apartment. At autopsy, a Visa and social services card belonging to Daniel Curtain were found in the pockets of clothing on the body.

Medical records found that Mr Curtain had collapsed at Starbucks on College Green and was treated in hospital on August 18.

He was last seen alive on August 22 by DCC caretaker Derek Kelehan.

A post mortem report found the cause of death was undetermined due to decomposition. Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned an open verdict. “Clearly the deceased had been dead for some time and may have died on or about August 22,” the coroner said.

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