The body of an elderly Tasmanian man found in Westfield Bondi Junction had been there for three weeks, according to reports - and now it appears that a lack of regular checks by centre staff may be a factor in the horrific time lapse before his discovery.
71-year-old Bernard Gore failed to meet with family members at the shopping centre on January 6 after setting off from his daughter’s Woollahra home on foot around midday.
Mr Gore suffered from dementia and was without his medication at the time.
It is believed he became disoriented en route before being trapped in a stairwell on the 4th floor between high end stores Chanel and Scotch & Soda.
According to news.com.au, there are only two points of exit once inside the stairwell: the roof carpark or the basement six floors below.
Staff members from Chanel told The Daily Telegraph Mr Gore had wandered inside the store looking “frail and confused” shortly before he vanished.
“He came in asking for help, he was frail and confused and was pacing up and down outside the store and eventually came inside,” a store assistant said.
“He said he couldn’t find the car park or people he was supposed to be meeting. I asked if he needed help and he shook his head and wandered off.”
“We were so worried my colleague called security and one of the guards told us they would check CCTV footage to locate him.”
“The thought that he had been in the stairwell for three weeks makes me feel so sad. Why has it taken so long to find the body?”
Speaking with the Daily Mail, a spokesperson for Westfield’s parent company, Scentre Group said: “Investigations are still underway to determine exactly how these sad and tragic circumstances could have occurred.”
“Scentre Group will continue to work with police in their investigations.”
It’s been reported that a maintenance worker was the first to find Mr Gore’s partially decomposed body. The three week period indicates that no one checked the stairwell in that time,either after his confused behaviour raised concern, or as the result of routine checks.
His death is not being treated as suspicious.
This article first appeared on New Idea.