Roofer uncovers decomposed body in flat three months after neighbours complain about smell

·2-min read
A block of flats in Norwich Place, Staffordshire, where Pawel Laszniewski’s body was found after three months (Google Maps)
A block of flats in Norwich Place, Staffordshire, where Pawel Laszniewski’s body was found after three months (Google Maps)

A roofer discovered the decomposing body of a 47-year-old man in a North Staffordshire flat, three months after neighbours first complained about the smell.

The workman spotted flies buzzing around a flat window on May 28 and, after looking through a letterbox, he discovered a decomposing body on the floor, Stoke-on-Trent Live reported.

He alerted the emergency services, who enlisted a joiner to open the flat door at the Clayton property, which is run by association Aspire Housing.

Pawel Laszniewski was formally identified by his fingerprints but, by the time his body was discovered, he was so severely decomposed that a pathologist was unable to ascertain his cause of death.

Police sergeant Eloise Bowen, who visited the flat in Clayton, Newscastle-under-Lyme, after the roofer raised concerns, told the inquest: “In 10 years of experience, this was the worst smell I had encountered.”

Police also discovered blood or faeces smeared on a wall and a bottle of vodka in the kitchen but, Sergeant Bowen said, “there was no sign of a struggle”.

At an inquest in North Staffordshire, it emerged that neighbours had raised concerns about a smell at the flat in February but those who checked Mr Laszniewksi’s flat did not receive an answer.

Mr Laszniewski, who was alcohol dependent and had recently lost his job, had lived in the property since September 2020.

Police did speak to Mr Laszniewski on February 10, after he had found in his underwear in pouring rain, when he apologised for causing a disturbance.

North Staffordshire senior coroner Andrew Barkley, who recorded an open conclusion, said: “It would be tempting in these circumstances to say it was more likely than not this was alcohol-related. But we simply have no evidence that it was. It’s certainly possible.”

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