UPDATE: Bideford chapel body could be ‘squatter’

A BADLY decomposed body discovered in a disused Bideford chapel yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) could be that of a man known to have been ‘squatting’ there.

The body, thought to be that of an elderly man, was found in the former chapel of the largely disused East-the-Water cemetery, next to the Cornwall Farmers store, at around 3pm.

Workers who entered the cemetery to trim hedges made the grisly find after investigating a smell coming from the cemetery chapel. It is understood the building was locked and the door had to be broken open.

Reports suggest that a man had been sleeping rough at the chapel for several years and even had his own key to the building.

Police are investigating the death but are not treating it as suspicious.

Near neighbour Lolita Millard told the Gazette that a man had been ‘squatting’ in the old chapel for seven or eight years.

“He was a squatter, but not a tramp,” she said. “I only saw him from my window, but he always looked clean and well presented. He was not a scruffy individual.”

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The man used to lock the chapel door at night. He had also tried to padlock the cemetery gates. But she had not seen him in recent weeks, said Mrs Millard.

The old cemetery was not much used, other than people sometimes bringing flowers and an occasional spreading of ashes, she said.

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