A roofer who saw a swarm of flies gathered around a flat window peered through the letter box to find the decomposing body of a man who had died three months before.
The man was working on an apartment block at Norwich Place, in Clayton, Staffordshire, when he noticed the insects were attracted to a top-floor flat, reports Stoke on Trent Live.
An inquest heard how he went to investigate and after looking through the letterbox saw to his shock what appeared to be a body.
He alerted the emergency services, who got a joiner to open the flat door for them.
Pawel Laszniewski, who was found on May 28, was formally identified by his fingerprints.
The 47-year-old had been the tenant of the Aspire Housing property since September last year and had a support worker.
It emerged that neighbours had voiced concerns of a smell last February and someone went to knock on the door but there was no answer.
Sgt Eloise Bowen, who went to the flat following the roofer’s concerns, found the distressing sight.
In a statement, she said: “In 10 years of experience, this was the worst smell I had encountered.”
By the time he was discovered, Mr Laszniewski’s body was severely decomposed, which meant a pathologist couldn’t ascertain his cause of death.
The resident was alcohol dependent and a bottle of vodka was found in the kitchen.
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Inside the flat, police also came across what appeared to be either blood or faeces smeared on a wall.
Sgt Bowen added: “There was no sign of a struggle.”
Amy Jones, neighbourhood coordinator for Aspire Housing, told the inquest in a statement that she had reported to the housing association on February 4 that a male was walking round the car park in his underwear in the pouring rain.
“He had hurt himself in a fall and couldn’t get back into the flat. He was clearly in drink at the time,” she added.
Ms Jones went to visit the tenant, but got no answer. She contacted the police, who said he was known for having alcohol problems.
Police hadn’t got powers to enter the property, but Mr Laszniewski could be seen through the window. On another check on February 10, he said he was sorry for causing any disturbance.
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It was also noted in the inquest that he had recently lost his job and he had been receiving help from a charity for several months.
North Staffordshire senior coroner Andrew Barkley said: “It would be tempting in these circumstances to say it was more likely than not this was alcohol-related. But we simply have no evidence that it was. It’s certainly possible.”
He recorded an open conclusion.
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