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Dead man identified as rough sleeper

June 08 2011
Police explain why they called the coroner to pronounce decapitated man dead...


A decapitated corpse found in the River Wandle close to Wimbledon last June has been identified. According to the London Evening Standard, the body, which was discovered in Plough Lane, belonged to rough sleeper, Waldemir Drobig, a 32-year-old Polish immigrant and former baker.

By the time Drobig was found and pronounced dead by a police medical examiner, the corpse was badly decomposing and in an extremely poor state. As a result, Coroner Shirley Radcliffe was unable to establish the precise time and cause of death. She recorded an open verdict, admitting that while foul play was unlikely, it could not be completely ruled out. Police told The Pavement that there was no evidence to suggest anything other than a natural death, and further investigations were not being carried out.

This unfortunate case made headlines when Detective Inspector Chuk Gwams explained to the coroners' court why he had felt it necessary to call the police medical examiner to pronounce the decapitated man dead. When asked his reasons, the officer had said: "They are the experts; we are not."