Unanswered questions over 89-year-old's window fall death

Michael Peppiatt died in Leverton Street

Monday, 20th June — By Dan Carrier

Police hat

FRIENDS of a pensioner who fell to his death from his sitting-room window say they cannot understand how the tragedy occurred, as a coroner’s inquest was unable to provide the answer.

Michael Peppiatt, 89, died after falling from a first-floor window of his Leverton Street home in September last year.

Last week, St Pancras coroner Mary Hassell delivered an “open” inquest verdict, adding: “The circumstances in which he left the window are unclear.”

At the time, a man was arrested in connection with the incident at the scene but following a post-mortem examination, detectives found there were no grounds for any further action.

A Met spokesperson said: “The death was initially treated as unexplained while enquiries were carried out to establish the circumstances. A post-mortem examination on 17 September 2021 confirmed there was no third party involvement in the man’s death.

“The investigation established that no offences had been committed and the case was closed. Officers prepared a report for the coroner and a man who was arrested in connection with the incident was released without further action.”

Mr Peppiatt’s friends and neighbours now plan to plant a small memorial garden at the base of a tree outside his home in honour of his green-fingered gardening – and said the tragic incident has left them wondering about his last moments.

Neighbour Anne Armes said the verdict had left many friends without the closure they had hoped for.

She said: “We all wonder how this could have happened. It was such a chilling tragedy, it really was an awful day.”

Ms Armes added that Mr Peppiatt had grown frailer in recent years and questions had been asked about the levels of care he received. Unproven rumours included neighbours worrying he had been “cuckooed” in the months before his death – a term used to describe vulnerable people having their homes exploited by others who move in.

Ms Armes added: “Often, younger people would be seen going in and out, which led to rumours about whether he was being exploited in some way.”

Ms Armes said she would miss a neighbour who had been a friendly presence in the street for decades.

She said: “I have lived here for 35 years and he was there before me. He was always friendly – we used to swap plants with each other, and he was always helping neighbours out, doing shopping for a woman who had difficulty walking, for example.”

Next-door neighbour Elizabeth Boardman recalled a kind man who shared his love of gardening.

She said: “He had an apple tree in his back garden and would give fruit to his neighbours. He would potter about and always say hello. He was a caring person. I know he looked after his sister for some time when she fell ill.”

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, had spent mornings drinking coffee with Mr Peppiatt.

They said: “Michael was such a kind person. Nothing was ever too much bother. It is a mystery we would like cleared up. I did worry about him when we saw people going in and out. Everyone liked him and so I suppose we would like to feel a sense of closure.”

On the morning of Mr Peppiatt’s death, a passing driver and staff from the Pineapple pub found him unconscious and despite their efforts to save him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

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