Open verdict after decayed body found


The body of an amputee father who was on prescription medication was found severely decomposed at his Haywards Heath home, an inquest heard.

An open verdict was given after Matthew Bowen died aged 43 in High Trees.

The inquest was told that Mr Bowen had a history of mental illness involving alcohol and drug misuse.

Coroner Dr David Skipp, at the hearing on Friday (May 3), said the cause or even an approximate week of death could not be established.

His ex-wife, Joanne Bowen, 38, of Reigate, asked the coroner ‘what am I going to tell my children?’.

Dr Skipp said: “I wish I could give you an answer.

“I think this was probably a fairly quick sudden event. Whether he suffered anymore than he was suffering prior to the event I don’t know, it seems to me like he was in a very distressed state anyway.”

Mr Bowen’s body was discovered on September 28, 2015 after his mother told police she had not seen him for weeks, the inquest heard.

Coroner’s officer Michelle Williams read out a summary which stated police found him lying face-down on a rear upstairs bedroom covered in two sheets similar to sofa throws.

Dr Skipp said a toxicology report showed Mr Bowen “was on quite a lot of anti-depressants” and opiates believed to be from morphine patches he was prescribed after his septic left leg was amputated.

It was heard Ms Bowen last saw him at the start of September 2015.

She described their relationship as ‘incredibly fiery’ and told the inquest they got back together and had another child after their divorce.

She said Mr Bowen used to take legal highs, had a drinking problem and called prescribed medication ‘sweeties’.

She told the hearing: “He wasn’t quite there, he didn’t know who he was, he didn’t know who I was, he didn’t know where he was.

“I had warned him on several occasions he was taking too much medication.”

She said they lived in separate rooms in the house until she left and heard ‘voices’ coming from where he was in the house in September 21 2015.

She added he suffered three seizures in a day last May after he started using morphine patches following his amputation.

“I informed the GP and the GP told me it was a lack of morphine in his system,” she said.

“He had fits from medication and he used to suffer from alcoholic fits.”

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