Family of Great Yarmouth man who starved to death say he was ‘failed by the system’
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 November 2015 | UPDATED: 11:11 13 November 2015
A man who died in a Great Yarmouth hotel was “failed by the system”, members of his extended family have said.
Emidio Dos Santos, 43, was found dead in the Victory Hotel in Nelson Road South on October 22. It is believed he had been dead for around five days and a postmortem found he had died of bronchial pneumonia and malnutrition.
There were no drugs in his system and his death was certified as being by natural causes.
Mr Dos Santos had come to the UK from Portugal and had worked both in pharmaceuticals and at the Birds Eye factory at Lowestoft, but had fallen on tough times and began claiming benefits.
Winterton man Brian Pollard met Mr Dos Santos 11 years ago when he started dating his daughter, Nicola.
By that time Mr Dos Santos had lived in the UK for a year.
Although he and Nicola were never married, they stayed together for around five years and lived in Great Yarmouth.
They went on to have a son, Harley, who is now 10, but since the couple split up four years ago, the Pollard family hadn’t had much contact with Mr Dos Santos.
Mr Pollard said: “My son, Adam, had seen him in St George’s Park and it looked like he’d been beaten up, but we didn’t know how bad it was.
“We know that his money was stopped in August, for sanctions I think,” added Mr Pollard, 73.
“But he wasn’t able to get any money from anywhere, and because his English wasn’t great I don’t think he knew where to turn. I feel like he’s been failed by the system. You can say what you like about immigrants and such but they’re still humans.”
Mr Pollard said his family were shocked by the news of his tragic death, and added they had not known how bad Mr Dos Santos’ situation was.
“I feel terrible myself because no-one knew anything. If I’d have seen him on the side of the street I would have brought him home and got him a doctor.”
When Mr Dos Santos’ body was found, police said they attended the hotel to make an arrest and discovered him in another room.
“They found him laid out on cardboard boxes with a quilt,” he said. “We couldn’t even see him in the coffin because of how long he’d been there.”
A funeral was held for Mr Dos Santos in Caister on Wednesday this week, and he was buried in the Pollard’s family plot.
Mr Pollard’s wife Michelle said: “His sister came from London and his family in Portugal, including his other son who is 13, held a mass at the same time. They couldn’t afford to fly over.”
Although the family were able to give Mr Dos Santos a loving send off, they feel he was cheated.
“It’s Harley I feel worst for,” said Mr Pollard. “He’ll miss out on his Dad, he hasn’t said a lot but he did break down at school.
“I think the system has let that man down, he starved and they’ve killed him.”
The Norfolk Coroner confirmed Mr Dos Santos’ death had been referred to them, but because he died of natural causes and there were no suspicious circumstances, an inquest was not carried out.
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