Mummified mum kept in basement so son could collect pension, police say

·1-min read
Austrian police on patrol  (Getty Images)
Austrian police on patrol (Getty Images)

A man is accused of mummifying the dead body of his mother in cat litter so he could continue to collect her benefits, police said.

Austrian police discovered the body of an 89-year-old woman, who was believed to have suffered from dementia.

It is believed the elderly woman died of natural causes in June last year.

It is said her son, 66, hid her body in his cellar with ice packs and bandages which he used to mask the smell at the home they shared near Innsbruck in the Tyrol region.

“The 66-year-old man kept her body in order to continue receiving benefits,” police said.

“He covered his mother with cat litter and finally the corpse was mummified,” Helmut Gufler, in charge of the police’s social security fraud unit, told public broadcaster ORF.

It was claimed when his brother came round asking about their mother, he said she was in hospital.

Mr Gufler explained the son had no other income and if he had reported the death, he would be unable to afford to pay for his mother’s funeral or keep the house.

Police fear the son could have cashed his mother’s benefits every month until a new postman asked to see her which lead to the discovery of the suspected fraud.

The postman reported it to the authorities sparking an investigation which led to the body being discovered on Saturday.

The man is believed to have pocketed €50,000 (£42,750) since June 2020 from the payments.

The suspect is accused of benefit fraud and hiding a corpse.

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