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A TV set

Police in Fort Lauderdale say the death of a man in his seventies was caused by his TV set, and have charged the appliance with homicide.

The man, Gordon Binfield, 74, had lived alone since his wife died in 1983, and, having few friends, rarely left the house. One friend he did have, was Larry Lightman, 77, who visited the recluse at his home every month for a game of poker.

"He was a man of few words. He never got over his wife dying," said Larry. "The only thing he did was watch TV."

Binfield, who had underlying health problems, was a TV addict. He watched TV from his waking moment until the time his brain finally shut down his systems for the night, which was usually in the early hours. He watched all kinds of shows: drama, crime, comedy, sports, natural history, wildlife, gardening, current affairs, documentaries – he even perused shopping channels, despite never buying a single thing.

He never took exercise, never bothered with 'fresh air' – apart from occasionally opening a window – never went shopping, (one of his neighbors helping him out with his essentials), and ate only when it was absolutely necessary, on a diet that could only be called 'spartan'.

Mailman Alan Jackson called the police after he inhaled when he opened Mr Binfield's letterbox to deliver a bill on Thursday, and almost passed out. Medics said Mr Binfield had died from "serious self-neglect".

Said Mr Lightman:

"His TV had a strange hold over him. He stared into it, day and night. It controlled him, and wouldn't let go of him. It was as if it 'talked' to him. I told him, but he wouldn't listen. The TV's what's killed him."

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