Graham Barrott does not want anyone else to slip through the cracks like Des.
Graham Barrott does not want anyone else to slip through the cracks like Des. Renee Pilcher

Des slipped through cracks

TODAY marks two weeks since Graham Barrott's neighbour was found dead in a paddock near his Lockhardt Rd home.

The saddest thing is Mr Barrott and other neighbours tried to stop the death by offering assistance to the man, 82, who was living in a caravan with no running water and was not eating properly.

Even worse the man, known only as Des to Mr Barrott, still has not been buried.

"There was nothing to stop him falling through the cracks of society," Mr Barrott said.

"He lived off potatoes and onions."

Mr Barrott said Des had lived across the road from him for a couple of years and had been to hospital only to be released two days before he was found dead on May 2 - two weeks after he turned 82.

"We talked on Tuesday afternoon (a day before his death). I said: 'you'll end up dying in a paddock somewhere'."

But Des refused help from his neighbours and that's exactly what happened.

Mr Barrott wonders why no authorities took control and helped his friend or why there was not some organisation to help males who had nowhere to live.

"He refused my assistance but I'm damn sure there is some group out there that would have loved to help. Social workers or someone. He wasn't eating."

Mr Barrott said the way Des lived was "disgusting".

"You would not let a dog live in that caravan.

"My biggest concern was the way he was allowed to live like that.

"I know it was his choice but surely there is some department to look after him. Welfare or someone should have helped him."

Mr Barrott said the conditions he was living in were filthy and "even the police were disgusted".

The last Mr Barrott heard, the Department of Primary Industries was trying to auction Des' cattle to pay for a funeral.

He had about 45 jersey cows, unfortunately some of them will have to be put down.

"I can't understand how he was allowed to live like this. He worked hard all his life and paid taxes all his life.

"If the RSPCA saw animals living in those conditions they would have taken them away."

A couple of months before Des' death his ute caught fire and he collapsed. He was then taken to hospital shortly before his death after he could not get out of bed.

"People should be made aware the way people are living in this day and age. There's no need for it, and to die by himself.

"It was very sad to see him lying where he was by himself."

Gympie Times


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