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Veteran, 68, 'left to live in rancid filth'

PUBLISHED: 15:47 17 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:29 23 August 2010

ABANDONED: Patrick Kavanagh

ABANDONED: Patrick Kavanagh

AN ex-serviceman regarded as at risk of suicide by social services was found by his family living in conditions they say a rat wouldn t live in . Despite living in sheltered accommodation and receiving regular attention from a care worker and social wor

AN ex-serviceman regarded as at risk of suicide by social services was found by his family living in conditions they say "a rat wouldn't live in".

Despite living in sheltered accommodation and receiving regular attention from a care worker and social worker, Patrick Kavanagh, 68, was allowed to live in conditions so foul his neighbour complained of the smell for two years.

His younger sister Ann Kavanagh, who lives in Dublin, found him lying on the floor of his flat in Wimborne House, Taunton Vale, Gravesend last week.

She said: "If I cared for a dog like that, I would have been taken out of my house in handcuffs.

"The apartment is rancid. I can't believe that a human being was forced to live in conditions like this."

Ms Kavanagh had tracked him down after losing contact with him four years ago, as she wanted to find him to inform him of his brother's death.

Her daughter Sharon Shelley, said: "There is urine and faeces everywhere. The carpets are stained with it, blankets are covered in it.

"His kettle was full of faeces. The place in rancid, the smell is sickening.

"A rat wouldn't live here. It would run away. It is a wonder he hasn't caught some terrible disease."

A log of the care provided to Mr Kavanagh, a former servicemen with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, reveals he was seen at regular intervals approximately once every two days by a worker from Care UK, which works through Kent County Council.

It also highlights that he suffers from depression, is at risk of neglect, self harm, self neglect and suicide.

Defending the condition of the 68-year-old, both Kent County Council and a spokesman for Care UK stated that he refused care.

A council spokesperson said: "It is very difficult to deliver care to a client when they are not accessible, nor available.

"We do have limited legal powers to intervene or remove someone from their home against their will and these are only in very particular circumstances."

Ms Kavanagh and Mrs Shelley, who are furious they were not contacted about his state of health, placed Mr Kavanagh in a respite centre and will take him to Ireland as soon as he is well enough.

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