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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Inquest into maintenance worker Dilwyn Phillips records open verdict after body found in car park behind Flying Boat pub in Dartford

11 December 2013
by Lizzie Massey
The family of a man found dead in a car park will never know exactly what caused his death.
 
Dilwyn Phillips was discovered behind the Flying Boat pub in Spital Street, Dartford, on the morning on Monday July 1.
 
He left his house in Henderson Drive on the Saturday evening to go to the pub and texted his partner, Jean, at 8.40pm.
 
Dilwyn Phillips was found dead in a Dartford car park

Dilwyn Phillips was found dead in a Dartford car park

 
That was the last she heard from him.
 
Two days later Anthony Benning, a security officer at the time for the Priory Shopping Centre, found Mr Phillips during his daily search of the outside perimeter.
 
The 52-year-old father was laying next to a wall and Mr Benning assumed he was drunk and asleep and went to check on him.
 
During an inquest at Gravesend’s Old Town Hall today, coroner Roger Hatch asked Mr Benning: “Did you see that the male had blood coming from his nose and ears, and his face was blue?”
 
Mr Benning replied “yes”. 
 
The car park, which is continuously locked, had not been checked since the Saturday afternoon and it is not clear exactly when the maintenance worker at Dartford Grammar School died.
 
Forensics officers after a body was found. Picture Chelsea James

Forensics officers after a body was found. Picture: Chelsea James

 
A post mortem examination was carried out by Doctor Peter Jarreat, who found the alcohol level in Mr Phillips’ blood was twice the legal drink-drive limit when he died, at 217mg to 100 litres of blood.
 
In a statement read out during the inquest he said he said that amount was not regularly associated with fatalities, but could have caused him to suffer the effects of exposure more quickly.
 
He added that Mr Phillips also had some cuts and bruising to his head which may have been caused by a fall, but none of those were fatal internal head injuries, and there was “no clear cause of death”.
 
A cordon led to a car park off Spital Street in Dartford

A cordon led to a car park off Spital Street in Dartford

 
Mr Phillips had a few falls in the recent days before his death and friends and family noticed that he was often slurring his words, without any alcohol in his system.
 
The family were not sure what was wrong with Mr Phillips but he had been suffering from spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae, which caused him back and neck pain.
 
CCTV footage from nearby Gala Bingo hall shows him at 11.50pm on Saturday night in the alleyway behind the Flying Boat pub.
 
The police cordon included a gated alley beside Sainsbury's in Dartford

The police cordon included a gated alley beside Sainsbury's in Dartford

 
While giving evidence in court Detective Constable Brian Smith said: “He stepped on a low level chain and took a heavy fall.
 
“[Then] he then tried to climb the wall but fell.”
 
Mr Phillips tried again, and was stood on the wall but then “disappeared” from the CCTV shot.
 
DC Smith added: “We don’t know whether he jumped or fell off the wall, however police are satisfied there was no third party involvement.
 
“Mr Phillips kept himself to himself and adored his dog, Shanks, who he walked morning noon and night.”
 
“He wasn’t the sort of man to go out drinking every weekend. It was just a tragic accident" - Mr Phillips' partner Jean
Coroner Roger hatch concluded that he “had no alternative than to record an open verdict.
 
Speaking after the inquest his partner Jean said: “He was a good man and cared about others. His life was the school and his dog.
 
“It’s just very sad that it’s an open verdict, that we will never know exactly what happened. 
 
“He was really fit, you wouldn’t have thought anything could have happened to him.
 
“He wasn’t the sort of man to go out drinking every weekend. It was just a tragic accident.
 
“The school have been wonderful, they held a memorial service for him and are raising money for Guide Dogs for the blind in his name.” 

Video: Police cordon in Dartford's Spital Street after a man's body was found

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