Lonely British expat found dead in Australian flat

by Ray Clancy on July 15, 2011

in Australia

Living in Australia

Brit expat dies in solitude in Aussie home

The plight of loneliness that can affect expats has been brought into sharp focus after the skeletal body of a pensioner was found in a flat in Perth, Western Australia.

Robert Roll, 75, was originally from Newcastle in the North of England and it is thought he had moved to Australia some time ago. It is thought that his body lay undiscovered in his flat for two years.

It also appears that the lonely expat had no family and may have died from natural causes as he was suffering from cancer and his body was found slumped next to his bed.

Police and department of housing investigations are underway as local people said they had alerted authorities to the fact that he had not been seen for some time.

Police have checked with records in the United Kingdom and found he was a former boilermaker. ‘We had hoped to identify some family or friends but it seems that he lead a very lonely life,’ said a police department spokesman.

Residents in the same apartment block had grown concerned when the man’s mail began piling up. Neighbors said that they had repeatedly urged the housing department to check on his well being.

They had spoken to the department as recently as six weeks ago. ‘Our lease agreement says we are supposed to have an inspection every six months,’ said one resident. Nevertheless, it appears that Roll’s apartment hadn’t been inspected for years despite being next door to the department.

Neighbors Lee and Ashley, who lived on the same floor as Roll, claim they voiced concerns to the department three times, most recently six weeks ago. ‘It’s shocking. We called the department a year ago about the mailbox getting full and asked if the apartment was empty because we noticed the power was off but they told us someone did live there,’ said Lee.

The issue was raised during a rental inspection six weeks ago, when the two urged the department worker to check on Roll, but they claim no checks were made.

Western Australia Housing Minister Troy Buswell has asked his department to investigate.

Buswell said he hoped the tragic incident would make people aware of the plight of those who lived alone. ‘In many ways it’s a sad reflection on our society that people can be so isolated in our community that they can pass away and no one notices for 18 months,’ he said.

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