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Body lay in UK apartment for 8 years

LONDON (AP) -- Workers responding to neighbors' complaints of a bad smell coming from an apartment in western England discovered a body that lay decomposing on a couch for years while another resident lived there, officials said Friday.

The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that neighbors of the Bristol, England apartment had been complaining for years about the stench and cleaning workers found the body. Neighbor Michael Stone told the BBC he assumed the tenant suffered from poor hygiene and even offered him air fresheners.

A spokesman for Bristol City Council said the body was thought to have been in the apartment for at least eight years.

The identity of the man, who was thought to be in his 70s when he died, has not been released.

Police arrested the apartment's tenant after the body was found Jan. 30, but concluded the death was not suspicious. The occupant, also in his 70s, apparently failed to report the death because he suffers from mental health problems.

Bristol Coroner's Court launched an urgent inquiry on Friday to determine how the corpse had gone unnoticed for so long.

A local lawmaker expressed disbelief at the find.

"How can any of us possibly understand how there could be a dead body in somebody's flat for five years, or maybe even as long as eight years, and nobody know and nobody notices, and life appears to go on as usual," Labour parliamentarian Dawn Primarolo told BBC television.

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