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Tributes to retired catholic priest found dead in Bexley home
A RETIRED Catholic priest was found dead in his Bexley home after not being seen for almost a week, an inquest heard.
Police were called to 64-year-old Reverend Geoffrey Winchester's home, a church-owned flat in Thanet Road, on July 24, after neighbours grew concerned.
In documentary evidence read at South London Coroner's Court on October 10, PC Andrew Milner said: "We spoke to neighbours and they said they had not seen him for six days.
"Father Christian Onyigbuo, from St John Fisher Parish in Thanet Road, opened the door to the church-opened property.
"Police officers entered with face masks and paper suits.
"The kitchen and living room were dirty.
"In the upstairs bathroom there was a body slumped to the right-hand side."
Residents spoke highly of the Dartford-born former priest, who had lived in Thanet Road since 2007.
Eilidh Ramsden, 48, of Bexley High Street, had known him for 10 years.
She said: "He always had time for people and once he even came to look after me when I was ill and my husband was away.
"We used to swap recipes because he was so into cooking and we'd do the crossword together.
"He had a very dry sense of humour and you could talk to him about anything and everything.
"I heard a story about him about when he was a chaplain in hospital in the 1980s and met a family of a young man who had died of AIDs.
"To spare their feelings he told them he had died of pneumonia - which was technically true - and that's the kind of priest he was.
"He would never lie but he was really kind.
"He'd never ram religion down anyone's throat."
Rev Winchester was a member of Old Bexley Ex-Servicemen's Club - although he had not been in the forces - and regularly visited the Railway Tavern and the King's Head pubs in Bexley High Street.
Coroner Dr Roy Palmer recorded an open verdict.
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