A heartbroken widower “lost the will to live” following the loss of his wife and starved himself to death, an inquest heard yesterday.
Fakenham pensioner Trevor Pilch was admitted to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in a “severe state of malnutrition”, but he refused to eat or accept any medication and physiological help – and told doctors and nurses he wanted to die.
An inquest into the death of the 74-year-old yesterday heard that he never got over the death of his wife, who passed away in a care home in 2009.
Recording a verdict of death by self-neglect, Norfolk coroner Jacqueline Lake said: “He had not been eating properly and suffered significant weight loss despite his daughter doing his shopping, preparing him meals and trying to persuade him to eat.
“His weight loss was being investigated at the hospital and on July 15 he was admitted with severe malnutrition. For two weeks he continued to refuse to eat. He refused all nutritional, medical and physiological intervention and also expressed a wish to die.”
Mr Pilch, of Whitelands, Fakenham, died at the hospital on August 1 and the cause of death was given as frailty due to malnutrition.
The inquest at Lynn County Court was told the retired book binder had been his wife’s main carer for ten years prior to her moving into a care home with dementia.
A statement from his daughter Deborah Elyard said following his wife’s death, he rarely left the house.
She said he stopped doing things he used to enjoy, like going to watch speedway and gardening, and would sit and watch television all day.
He stopped eating and refused to change his clothes.
She said: “One day I made him change and when his top was taken off I noticed how thin he was. He reminded me of someone on a prisoner of war film. He had been hiding it under thick jumpers.”
A statement from doctors at the QEH said there was no physical cause for Mr Pilch’s weight loss.
It said: “He appears to have lost the will to live following the death of his wife. He has starved himself into a state of malnutrition.”