Man’s body lay in Edinburgh flat ‘for two months’

The building where the pensioner's body was found. Picture: Greg Macvean
The building where the pensioner's body was found. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A PENSIONER who was found dead in his flat by police could have been lying there for up to two months, neighbours believe.

The 73-year-old was discovered on Thursday, two days after his neighbour, Kim Begbie, reported a “foul” smell lingering in her Northfield stairwell to the council.

Her concerns for the man grew when the council ignored her request and on Thursday she noticed a mass of flies covering his window.

After the 29-year-old contacted the police, they broke down the door a short while later, and discovered the body.

Today, the mother-of-two remains angry that the flat, which is situated above hers, is yet to be fumigated and said she expected more from the council.

She said: “At first I wondered if he was hoarding in rubbish in his flat again.

“I called the council last year to make them aware that I thought he was either keeping rubbish or worse, lying dead, after I had over 300 flies in my house one day.

“After pest control came out, they confirmed the flies were the type that feed on rotten meat or carcasses.

“So the council investigated and it turned out he had been keeping black bags of rubbish inside.

“The council said from then on he would have constant support with key workers visiting weekly but this never happened.”

She added: “I phoned them again last Tuesday after my neighbour and I could smell something in our hall.

“The more I thought about it, I realised I hadn’t seen him or heard him upstairs for a while so I expressed concern for him. They didn’t do anything.

“As soon as I saw the flies on Thursday I knew something was wrong and contacted the police.

“They were great and arrived within ten minutes.

“He could have been lying in that flat dead for up to two months for all we know.

“I’m so fed up with the way we’ve been treated by the council. His body was discovered five days ago and the flat is yet to be fumigated. There are flies everywhere.

“There are seven children living in this stairwell, including my own, and that can’t be safe.

“There could be rats, mice or anything in there.

“Not only did the council massively fail this man, but they are continuing to fail by not getting the property properly fumigated or cleared out.”

Local councillor Alex Lunn said he was saddened to hear of the incident.

He said: “I am very sad to hear of this in my ward. My thoughts are with his family at this time.”

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “Police in Edinburgh responded to an address in Northfield Avenue at around 3.30pm on Thursday March 9 following reports of concern for the occupant.

“After entering the property the body of a 73-year-old man was found within. There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding this death.

“A report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.”

City bosses have confirmed they will carry out an inquiryinto the death.

A spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that a council tenant was sadly found dead in his home on Thursday 9 March. We and our partner agencies are currently reviewing the circumstances surrounding what happened.”

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk