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Family no closer to knowing how severely autistic Elric Eiffert died in care home bath

By Ed McConnell

More than two months on from the tragic death of a severely autistic Maidstone man his family are no closer to knowing how he died or even when they can bury him.

The body of Elric Eiffert, who also suffered from epilepsy, is still in a mortuary despite him drowning in the bath at a care home on April 13.

Seventeen days later the 34-year-old’s family, of Upper Fant Road, were informed of his death and were initially told by the Metropolitan Police he had died only two days previously.

Natasha Eiffert with mum and dad Michael and Annette Eiffert

Natasha Eiffert with mum and dad Michael and Annette Eiffert

His brother Anton said officers told them Elric had died while unsupervised. Due to his condition a carer needed to be present while he was bathing.

The 30-year-old, from Sutton Road, added: “As far as we know it’s still an active investigation, but we’re no closer to getting a cause of death or a death certificate. Nothing has moved on since his death.

“We have a police point of contact but he now works night shifts.

“We aren’t able to access Elric’s belongings.”

Elric’s sister Natasha added: “People keep asking us when the funeral is. We can’t tell them because without the death certificate we can’t register the death.”

Loring Hall, in Sidcup, caters for adults with learning difficulties and Mr Eiffert had been living there for nine years having previously been in care.

Anton added: “We were initially told it looked like he had drowned after suffering an epileptic fit.

“When we went to view the body we were told there were visible signs of neglect. He was very underweight and had bad hygiene.

“He initially went into care because he was a handful and hurt me and my younger sister. When he was in care he was really happy and quite a chunk of a bloke but his condition deteriorated at Loring Hall, he became thin and shakey and I told them he wasn’t looking after himself.

“To me there are signs of neglect and they are trying to sweep it under the carpet and I’m not going to let them.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed an investigation is ongoing and the death is still unexplained.

Elric Eiffert

Elric Eiffert

She added the force has contacted the Care Quality Commission. No inquest has been opened and no arrests have been made.

Loring Hall was rated as requiring improvement by the Care Quality Commission after an unannounced inspection on April 28.

The inspection came after a number of concerns were raised with the health watchdog.

During the visit it was noted medication was not always administered or kept safely, patient’s’ risk assessments and care plans were not always carried out and staff lacked training in certain conditions. Of particular concern was the management of epilepsy.

Two pans of boiling water were left unattended on the hobs in an open kitchen, despite many residents at risk of seizures.

Managers were unaware at least one patient had epilepsy.

It had not been noted one patient hadn’t had a seizure for 10 years, meaning for them a fit would be considered a significant clinical incident.

Twice residents were given double the recommended dosage of medicine.

When approached Loring Hall, which is provided by Oakfields Care Limited, refused to comment.

There was no mention in the report of Mr Eiffert’s death.

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