Man died hours after police ‘refused’ lift home

Chesterfield Coroners Court, Basil Close
Chesterfield Coroners Court, Basil Close

A man died of hypothermia on a Matlock street hours after police officers denied his request for a lift home, an inquest has heard.

Anthony Moulson, 43, died on the morning of May 1, 2013, after a night sleeping rough at Matlock Green petrol station in temperatures of three degrees celsius.

Chesterfield Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday that police officers had contact with Mr Moulson on two occasions in the hours prior to his death, following two calls from himself and three separate calls from members of the public.

Following one of the encounters with Mr Moulson, a jury was told that police officers refused to give him a lift back to his home in Black Rock Avenue, Matlock, which was less than a mile from the petrol station.

The court heard Mr Moulson – who was well known to police – lived a “chaotic lifestyle” and drank excessively.

The jury was told he made 173 malicious calls to police in a ten-year period and was due to appear at Chesterfield Magistrates Court on related charges on the day he died.

Detective Inspector Joanne Brett, who investigated the incident, told the court that Mr Moulson dialled 999 at 10.41pm on April 29, and again just after midnight on the day of his death, reporting that he had been assaulted.

Ms Brett said he did not give a location, or any indication of being in immediate harm, so officers arranged a scheduled appointment to attend Mr Moulson’s house a few days later.

The court heard that a postmortem found no signs of any assault.

Mr Moulson dialled 999 again at 1.10am and reported breathing difficulties to ambulance control, the court heard.

Police and paramedics attended his address, and attempted to call Mr Moulson on his mobile, but they could not find him, the jury was told.

The court heard a member of the public called 999 at 4,30am with concerns that a man was asleep in Matlock Green garage.

Ms Brett said: “Two officers attended and saw Mr Moulson lying on a piece of grass next to the car wash... They enquired about his wellbeing and he said he was fine.”

She said Mr Moulson told the officers not to request an ambulance, so they offered to call him a taxi instead. However, no taxi firms responded.

Ms Brett said: “[Mr Moulson] asked the officers for a lift home and they said no.”

The jury heard another member of the public reported concerns at 4.15am via the non-emergency line, and another member of the public called 999 at 5.55am.

Ms Brett said the same two officers attended a short while later and found Mr Moulson sat outside a shop nearby. She said officers assessed he was “communicating well” and left him standing by the shop.

The court heard that two different officers – who were off-duty and on their way home – saw Mr Moulson sitting in the same position at 6.59am.

Upon approaching him, one of the officers believed Mr Moulson had died and called for assistance from police and paramedics.

Despite resuscitation attempts, Mr Moulson was pronounced dead at Chesterfield Royal Hospital at 10.05am.

A post-mortem cited hypothermia as the primary cause of death, and recorded a defect with Mr Molson’s heart valve as a secondary factor.

The inquest continues.