Decomposing body found at Hackney homeless hostel Shuttleworth Hotel
PUBLISHED: 09:24 23 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:56 23 June 2016
A hostel for the homeless has come under fire after the body of a 44-year-old man was found decomposing in a tiny room days after his suspected death.
The Gazette this week went inside the Hackney hotel where 44-year-old Joseph Coughlin died, and our reporter found shocking conditions described as modern day “slum” housing.
Mr Coughlin’s body was discovered in a tiny 10ft by 4ft box room no bigger than a prison cell at the Shuttleworth Hotel in Well Street on Wednesday last week.
He lived alone and his room had gone unchecked for three days before he died.
One resident at the hostel told the Gazette: “There was this strange smell like meat going bad and it was disgusting. Someone called people working here and told them ‘I think you need to check room by room’.
“It’s not humane this happening. This guy was dead and nobody knew it, he was there three days, a rotten body in a hostel room.
“It’s very sad and scary as well. If I die here who’s going to know about it?”
Police attended the hostel and Mr Coughlin was pronoucned dead at the scene.
An inquest has been opened and adjourned and there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
But conditions at the privately run hostel, where some rooms are infested with bed bugs and there are allegations of drug dealing and violence, have been condemned as totally inadequate.
Campaigners have demanded an end to private landlords profiting by renting rooms no bigger than prison cells for the maximum £255 a week housing benefit to those in need of urgent temporary accomodation.
Shuttleworth hostel manager Ola Ayeni insisted the hotel had followed strict procedures in dealing with Mr Coughlin’s death.
She said: “Joseph Coughlin, our resident since January 2016, was found deceased in his room on the morning of Wednesday, June 15 when we carried out a room check.
“All councils’ require residents to sign a register once a day, as evidence they are residing at the accommodation. Where residents have not signed the register for 48 hours, we are required to notify the council who may make a decision to terminate the booking.
“In the case of Mr Coughlin, he was last seen at reception on Saturday, June 11 and signed the register on Sunday, June 12.
“He did not sign on Monday or Tuesday. On the morning of Wednesday, June 15, after 48 hours non-signing, we carried out a room check as per our procedure.
“This is when we sadly found Mr Coughlin deceased. The referrer was notified and the police called to carry out their investigations who confirmed the death was not suspicious.”