Forensics: The Real CSI: When did John Wainwright die?

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Written By Sedoso Feb

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The latest episode of BBC Two’s Forensics: The Real CSI delves into a case from 2020 where a man kept his friend’s body in a freezer for two years.

According to BBC, Damion Johnson was John Wainwright’s caretaker, and they had known each other for 27 years. They lived in a flat in Birmingham since 2015 and were good friends. Wainwright died in September 2018, but officials did not discover his body until August 2020.

In December 2019, authorities arrested the 53-year-old Damion Johnson for unrelated charges, after which they sealed the flat. They unplugged the freezer that contained Wainwright’s body, which Johnson had stored since his passing. Previously, the flat had received several safety checks. However, officials did not realize that there was a corpse on the premises. They assumed that the stench came from rotten food.

Eventually, the staff of Budget Skips Services Ltd in Exhall, Warwickshire, discovered Wainwright’s body. The freezer Johnson had kept Wainwright in was 2ft by 3ft and cost £462. After Wainwright’s demise, his friend told relatives and friends that his funeral had already been held. However, this was far from the truth.

The episode’s synopsis reads, “West Midlands Police are called after staff working in a tip yard make a grisly discovery: a decomposing body in a freezer which has been brought in for disposal following a flat clearance. A forensics team attends the scene, and the body and freezer are both removed for forensic tests. The team must first identify the body, a process that eventually leads the police to a surprising discovery: one of the deceased’s friends has known about his death for quite some time.”

How old was John Wainwright at the time of his death?

At the time of his death, John Wainwright was 71 years old. As per reports, Johnson was extremely attached to Wainwright. Since he was “overcome by grief” on his passing, he could not give the deceased a proper burial. Eventually, this resulted in his imprisonment.

According to an autopsy report, Wainwright’s body had signs of blunt-force trauma. However, officials could not determine the exact cause of his death. Judge Shaun Smith KC stated that Damion Johnson’s actions were unusual. However, the judge did not imply that he was responsible for his friend’s death.

In The Daily Mail UK, Judge Shaun Smith KC was quoted saying, “You and Mr Wainwright lived in an ordinary and pleasant relationship. He passed away and had you gone about this in a normal way he would have had a good and decent burial. But that’s not what you did. You bought a chest freezer, that was a deliberate act and you knew what you were going to do. You put him in there in 2018 and you left him there…and during that time you were helping yourself to his money.”

Reports suggest that John Wainwright managed a community warden scheme that was overlooked by the city council. People who knew him said that Wainwright was likable and popular amongst his peers. Also, he enjoyed listening to classical music.

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