Westport police investigating the discovery of a decomposing body at a bush campsite were shocked to find most of the body had been devoured by a dog, a coroner’s inquest in Greymouth has heard.
Regional coroner Richard McElrea said yesterday he would have dealt with the case in the privacy of his chambers but Douglas Arllington, a brother of the dead man, had concerns that warranted a public airing.
The remains of Charles Harold Arllington, 53, of Westport, were found on August 22 last year.
A reclusive man, Mr Arllington had been living in a tent amidst dense bush bordering a farm on Nine Mile Road, about eight minutes’ drive from the Westport Post Office.
When a farmhand, Joshua McDonald, got sick of Mr Arllington’s dog scavenging near the house he went to the campsite to remonstrate with him — and instead discovered a collapsed tent and the remains of a body.
Detective John Cunneen said little but the torso and head remained of the man, and marks on the body were consistent with a dog having gnawed on it, the Greymouth Star reported.
Mr Arllington’s dog Mojo had previously been chained up at the campsite.
Constable Denis Bergman, the first policeman on the scene, ascertained the identity of the dead man from medical appointment slips and a photograph found in a nearby vehicle. The photograph of a man and a woman was shown to Mr Arllington’s daughter, who confirmed it was of her and her father. …
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