Story updated, 8pm
An elderly man who was being investigated in connection with the alleged murder of a fellow resident at a Woonona nursing home has himself died.
The 77-year-old, a father of two formerly from Keiraville, was laid to rest on Monday last week.
He passed peacefully, with his wife and sister at his side, according to his death notice.
His death came one month after police were called to the high-dependency dementia ward of IRT Woonona, following reports of a physical altercation between him and another resident.
Father-of-two David Phillips, 90, suffered critical injuries in the November 27 clash.
Police arrived about 7pm to find Mr Phillips was unable to be revived.
The 77-year-old man was moved from the ward to Shellharbour Hospital as an investigation by Wollongong Police District, together with the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad, got underway.
However the investigation was abandoned after the younger man died in hospital on December 27, police advised on Wednesday.
Wollongong Police District duty officer Jim Fryday confirmed the younger man’s cause of death was end stage dementia.
“The coroner will look at it, along with the original offence,” he said.
Both men were patients in the high-dependency dementia ward at the Popes Road nursing home.
The altercation was the second stemming from the facility to make headlines since July 2012, when 84-year-old resident Mervyn Campbell, lying in his bed, was repeatedly hit with a wedge-shaped wooden door-stopper.
He suffered head and arm injuries and died in hospital three days later.
His alleged attacker, a fellow resident, had not been charged when the Mercury last reported on the case, in December of that year.
The accused man remained at Wollongong Hospital under 24-hour guard for those months, as the sensitive nature of the case, his age and mental health status raised difficult questions for caregivers.