Suffolk police criticised over man ‘frozen to death’


Tony BarnardImage copyright
Lowestoft Journal

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Tony Barnard (pictured in 1992) was found not breathing and in a ‘frozen state’ by neighbours

Police have been criticised for their handling of a 999 call raising concerns about a man who was found dead the next morning.

Tony Barnard, 57, was found dead in freezing conditions by neighbours outside the home in Lowestoft, Suffolk he had been evicted from.

Concerns were raised on 27 December 2017 and his body was found the next day.

An investigation found the call “was not handled perfectly”.

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One of Anthony Barnard’s neighbours dialled 999 after seeing him in the back garden

A police request for an ambulance was declined by the ambulance service due to high demand elsewhere and no officers were sent to check on Mr Barnard’s welfare.

Following a second call the next morning officers and paramedics found him dead in the rear garden of the property.

The Suffolk Constabulary worker who took the initial call resigned immediately after the incident.

A second call handler, who was acting as supervisor, was investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

In its official report the IOPC found “although the evidence seems to suggest that the call was not handled perfectly, the actions of the second call taker would not amount to misconduct”.

It added the he had accepted “things could have been handled better” but no guidance had been breached.

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Jeremy Barnard told the BBC he wanted someone held accountable following his brother’s death

Suffolk Constabulary has accepted the findings.

A police spokeswoman said: “Suffolk Constabulary always strives to do all it can to help people in need. Therefore, to assist our call handlers new guidance has been implemented about how to handle concerns for welfare calls.”

Mr Barnard, a former holiday park owner, had been evicted from his home a few months before he died and had had a long-term drinking problem.

His brother Jeremy Barnard previously told the BBC someone should have checked on Mr Barnard.

A leaked ambulance service report described Mr Barnard as appearing to have “frozen to death”.

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