Dying man mistaken for drunk

20:43, 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 or drunk.

Senior Constable Rob Murray of the Dunedin police said Donald James Caley died in Bayfield Park after he was noticed about 7 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 went shopping and then aimed to head home. Caley lived near Bayfield Park.

Murray said Caley was seen around the park over the weekend.

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

''I think he's been mistaken for someone drinking or having a sleep off. He wasn't in any obvious distress so it didn't raise any alarms,'' Murray said.

''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, he said.

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


The Press