Body lay hidden under furniture in Bristol flat for 10 years

The body of an elderly man lay in a flat for almost 10 years because his friend feared eviction if he reported the death, an inquest was told.

Denis Pring, 73, is thought to have died suddenly on a sofa in the spring or early summer of 1998 but his body was only discovered in 2008.

He had been invited to stay in the sheltered flat in Bristol by his friend and drinking partner, Alan Derrick, described by neighbours as a "vulnerable loner".

A council warden was called in to inspect the flat a year after the death because of reports of a terrible stench but failed to spot the remains which had been hidden beneath furniture.

The body was only discovered when cleaners entered the flat after Mr Derrick had moved to another property. Mr Derrick feared that he would be accused of allowing a lodger to stay with him without permission from the authorities if he reported the death.

Terry Moore, the deputy coroner for Avon, recorded an open verdict at the hearing in Flax Bourton, near Bristol, but said it appeared Mr Pring had simply lain down on the sofa "and did not get up again".

Mr Pring was a former warehouseman who took to drinking heavily after the death of his wife.