Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Man cuts off own head with chainsaw after flat is earmarked to be bulldozed by developers

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:00 PM on 14th July 2008

A ‘vulnerable’ man cut off his own head with a chainsaw after being ordered to move out of his home to make way for developers, police believe.

David Phyall’s severed head was found beside the power tool inside his housing association flat shortly after receiving his eviction notice.

Detectives were today investigating the possibility that the 58-year-old killed himself rather than leave his home of eight years.

David Phyall's flat

Grisly: David Phyall's body and severed head were found in his flat, above

He was the last resident living on an estate earmarked for demolition. All 71 surrounding flats were empty.

Paramedics and police made the gruesome find after receiving a 999 call.

An inquest is now being carried out into the exact cause of death and what had happened to Mr Phyall, described as ‘vulnerable’, beforehand.

It is understood police are not treating his death as suspicious.

Mr Phyall had lived in his flat at Bishopstoke in Eastleigh, Eastley, Hants, since 2000 and was fighting to stay there despite plans to bulldoze the entire area and rebuild it.

Many flats had already been boarded up.

Mr Phyall rented the property from Atlantic Housing Ltd.

He had been unhappy since the plans to level the flats and rebuild them were passed in 2006.

It is thought that he may have even been served with an eviction notice issued through the courts shortly before his death.

An inquest opened and adjourned by deputy central Hampshire coroner Simon Burge.

It listed the possible cause of death of Mr Phyall as ‘complete transaction of the neck’ and ‘chainsaw wound to the neck.’

An ambulance service spokesman said: ‘We were called to an address in Bishopstoke to reports to a “concerns for welfare.”

‘A rapid response vehicle attended and a search found a patient had sustained serious injuries.’

Ron Turtle, chairman of the Stoke Residents’ Association, said there was one tenant left whom he believed to be a disabled man who rented a ground-floor flat from Atlantic Housing.

He said: ‘They had offered him several places that were similar but he just didn’t want to move. In the end they had to go to court.’

Lib Dem Bishopstoke Parish Council chairman Anne Winstanley said: ‘The last I heard they were still negotiating with him to try to provide what he required to move into as an alternative.

‘It sounds very tragic for whatever the reason he met his death.’

Councillor Winstanley added that Bodmin Road had become a target for vandalism and nuisance behaviour in recent months.

The flats are thought to have been built in the 1960s but Atlantic Housing had revealed it would cost them more to repair than rebuild.

Southampton building firm Drew Smith were awarded a 7.8m pounds contract to design and build 54 replacement flats and 24 houses.

Three of the flats at Bodmin Road had been purchased by tenants under the right to buy but were repurchased by Atlantic Housing to enable the redevelopment to take place.

Atlantic Housing was unavailable for comment.

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