Sad end for loner John

POLICE are appealing for relatives of a man whose body lay undiscovered in a flat at Millroyd Mill, Brighouse, to come forward.

The body of Mr John Victor Wilcox, also known as ‘Vic’, was found by police after neighbours alerted them to a strong smell on the sixth floor of the luxury apartment block.

The body was in a state of decomposition and had lain there for some weeks. It is believed police had to identify him based on fingerprints.

Police kicked down the door to gain access to the flat and made the grim discovery in the early hours of December 21st. A doctor was called to the scene and certified 63-year-old Mr Wilcox as deceased. It was reported that two dead cats were also found in the apartment.

The death was due to natural causes and there are no suspicious circumstances. There will be no inquest.

Police believe Mr Wilcox has a daughter called Victoria, now in her 30s, living in the area. Calderdale Coroners’ Office would like to hear from Victoria or any other relatives. They are asked to contact Daniella Condon on 01422 354606.

Brighouse photographer John Steele, who lived in Millroyd Mill for two years, said there was no sense of community in the apartment block.

“People went out in the morning and came back at night and shut their doors. They kept themselves very much to themselves.

“It’s a sad indictment of the times we live in. You are just left to your own devices.”

When it was unveiled in 2003, the Millroyd Mill development was one of the hottest property schemes in the UK. The £17 million conversion of the former textile mill into luxury apartments unleashed a buying frenzy as prospective owners rushed to snap up the 134 properties.

Prices ranged from around £90,000 for a studio flat to more than £250,000 for a penthouse and buyers had access to a swimming pool, sauna and gym.

The landmark conversion won accolades and awards for its developers and architects and was copied in other West Yorkshire mill towns.

However a second phase of development of the former Cullingworth’s Mill site was abandoned in 2007 as demands for ‘apartment living’ declined. With the market saturated with apartments, many were bought as buy-to-let investments and were largely occupied by a transient population of tenants.