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No foul play seen in freak wardrobe death

Nov. 9, 2004 at 8:24 AM

WISBECH, England, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A British inquest has found no evidence of foul play in the death of a man who lay trapped under a toppled wardrobe for a week, The Times of London reports.

Coroner William Morris in Wisbech said the cause of death would remain open for 51-year-old unemployed motorcycle mechanic Ronald McClagish, who was found in his home Feb. 15.

An elderly neighbor told police she hadn't seen the man for two weeks. Investigators believe McClagish was cleaning inside the heavy wardrobe when it fell on him. Unable to lift or shift it, it appears he tore a copper water pipe from inside the wardrobe to use to scratch, pry and bang for help.

By doing so, he exposed himself to a steady flow of water onto his head.

A pathologist testified the man could have lived a week, and said the incessant flow of water had caused significant damage to his face.

The police report said when officers first arrived, a "tearful and anxious" neighbor reported having heard "repeated digging sounds" more than a week before.

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