Dying man mistaken for drunk

23:07, Jan 07 2013

Police believe a 61-year-old diabetic Dunedin man who died after a night lying ill on a park bench was wrongly mistaken for a homeless person or a drunk.

Senior Constable Rob Murray of the Dunedin police said Donald James Caley died in Bayfield Park after he was noticed about 7am or 8am yesterday.

He said Caley was still alive when police were called, but he died soon after paramedics arrived, owing to his medical condition.

Murray said Caley, a labourer, was dropped off in the area after work on Friday.

He said police believe Caley, who lived near Bayfield Park, went shopping and then planned to go home. Caley was seen around the park during the weekend.

He was noticed on Sunday afternoon, lying in a sleeping position on the park bench, beside a changing room and toilet block.

''I think he's been mistaken for someone drinking or having a sleep off,'' Murray said.

''He wasn't in any obvious distress so it didn't raise any alarms. Some people would investigate and try and see if he was OK, and some people wouldn't.''

On Monday morning, he was still there ''and the alarms go off'', he said.

Murray said Caley was barely alive when the ambulance staff arrived, but died soon after. The death was not suspicious.

Murray urged anyone who saw a man in the park during the weekend to contact Dunedin police on (03) 471-4800.


The Press