A flat has been sold in Paris which came with unexpected and gruesome extra contents – the body of its previous owner.
According to reports in Le Parisien, a man who had purchased the flat opened the front door to find the previous tenant, who it emerged had died around eight years earlier, just inside.
On Wednesday police confirmed the identity of the dead man as Thomas Ngin, a Cambodian who had been working in the city as a security guard.
Mr Ngin’s story, as reported by the newspaper and Radio France Internationale, is a tragic one.
The victim of an apparent suicide, he would have turned 50 this year. Instead, in 2005 he was reportedly struggling with debts, unable to pay the rent and had lost his job.
Le Parisien said that not long before his death, Mr Ngin had had an argument with his family members living not far away in the Val-d'Oise. He “severed ties” with them – enough for little suspicion to be aroused when they tried in vain to get back in contact over the years afterwards.
Tenants of the apartment block have spoken of how Mr Ngin’s “mailbox was overflowing”, but with the man originally coming to Paris from abroad neighbours simply assumed he must have returned to Cambodia.
They had become used to people arriving to knock on Mr Ngin’s door and getting no response – saying he “owed a lot of money” – and so did not try to do the same.
Eventually, the flat in Bussy-Saint-Georges was legally seized by debt-collectors and, with the paper-work finally sorted, new tenants were due to move in this week.
It wasn’t until days after the bank sold the property at auction that anyone came to clear it out – at which point the gruesome discovery of Mr Ngin’s mummified corpse was made.
A source familiar with the case told Agence France-Press: “This is the tragedy of the greater Paris area, that capacity of being isolated in the middle of a crowd.”