Body find sparks probe into police search

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The Independent Online

A probe was under way today into claims that police officers missed spotting a dead body in a house and then arranged for the property to be boarded up.

George Catley, 65, was found by housing officials at his home in Leigh, Greater Manchester, on April 26 - nearly three weeks after the police search.

Officers had forced entry into Mr Catley's address in Chisworth Close on April 6 following concerns for his welfare.

They conducted a search before organising for the property to be secured, said the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Sources said it was thought Mr Catley was already dead at the time of the search.

Concerns for Mr Catley were also passed to Greater Manchester Police (GMP) on March 13 but inquiries proved negative.

IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik said: "My sympathies go out to Mr Catley's family and friends for their loss.

"It is apparent that Mr Catley had been dead for some time when his body was found.

"Our investigation will determine whether officers made appropriate inquiries in response to the welfare concerns and whether the search of Mr Catley's home was thorough enough."

The IPCC said it would conduct an independent investigation into the matter after it was referred to them by GMP on April 27.

A GMP spokesman said: "At 2.12pm on Monday 26 April police received reports of a man being found dead in a house on Chisworth Close, Leigh.

"Officers attended and found the body of a 65-year-old man.

"A post-mortem examination was conducted but proved inconclusive.

"This incident has been voluntarily referred to the IPCC because of previous police contact."