‘Exceedingly sad’ death of Luton street beggar

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A street beggar who was injured after a fall in Luton died after years of alcohol and drug misuse, an inquest heard.

David Sargent, 47, was found collapsed in the street on September 15 and taken to Luton & Dunstable Hospital where a skull fracture was revealed.

Mr Sargent, of Althorp Road, was transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital, but developed multi-organ failure with his lungs, liver and kidneys.

After “deteriorating hourly”, he died on September 28.

A postmortem revealed a multitude of health problems, including CPPD, Hepatitis C and chronic liver disease.

Assistant coroner Martin Oldham said that he had never came across such health problems in someone so relatively young.

He said: “His lifestyle was such that he was effectively deteriorating day by day over a protracted period.”

Sgt Dave Taylor of Bedfordshire Police said that Mr Sargent was well-known as a beggar in Luton. He said: “There was nothing to suggest that he was a violent person, just becoming a bit of a nuisance with begging and asking for money.

“He lived in a one bedroom bedsit ... very poor, it had one unmade bed and two dustbin liners with clothes and no other possessions or food.

“We found no trace of family. His one associate suggested a conversation about a sister in Manhattan. We had his finger prints on record and confirmed this was David Sargent.”

Officers also recovered seven days worth of CCTV footage of Mr Sargent prior to his fall, showing him staggering in Luton town centre.

Mr Oldham added: “It’s an exceedingly sad case to read about. What is curious is that despite all the evidence, nothing really seems to be known about him. He lived in isolation.”

A cause of death was registered as misadventure, based on Mr Sargent’s lifestyle in the years leading to his death.