Confused pensioner dies after getting lost for 3 weeks in shopping center stairwell

Confused pensioner dies after getting lost for 3 weeks in shopping center stairwell

A 71-year-old retired barber tragically lost his life after spending three weeks stuck inside a stairwell, an Australian inquest has heard.

As reported by news.com.au, Bernard Gore, who had been making a shopping trip to Sydney’s enormous Westfield Bondi Junction mall with his family, went missing on January 6th, 2017, and was not discovered until January 27th. 

As seen on CCTV footage recorded at the time of the incident, Mr. Gore headed up to the fourth floor of the complex, before passing through a fire door. Unfortunately, the door itself could not be reopened from within, and Mr. Gore was unable to locate the exit on the ground floor in the maze of identical-looking staircases, which stretches for about eight miles around the complex, leaving him disorientated and trapped. 

71-Year-Old Tragically Died After Spending Three Weeks Lost Inside A Stairwell:

Mr. Gore’s wife, Angela, initially raised the alarm on the same day that her husband disappeared, reporting his absence on the evening of January 6th. Mr. Gore had been exhibiting the early signs of dementia at the time of his death, which led Angela and her family to be especially concerned as to his whereabouts. 

Credit: NSW Police

However, despite Angela’s concerns, investigators made a series of questionable decisions. For starters, police only did one cursory search of the mall area, before handing over responsibilities to the Westfield security team. These guards proceeded to check just three out of 100 security cameras, according to The Sun, before concluding that Mr. Gore had never entered the mall. It was only after the inquest was called that the telling CCTV was unearthed. 

Credit: RyanMcGuire

Mr. Gore was ultimately discovered in a “semi-kneeling position” next to a chair at the bottom of the stairwell where he had entered the fire escape by a maintenance worker. According to the coroner, he may have been alive for at least a week before eventually passing away.

According to Anne Mitchelmore, counsel to the coroner, “There is no further CCTV footage of Bernard after the time he entered the fire stairs.” She added that the situation had been “immensely distressing for his family”, who had not known Mr. Gore’s fate for several weeks. 

The investigation was later described as “poor” by a detective who took over the inquiry a year later.