Probe continues into North Walsham death

Police are still investigating the death of a 66-year-old man found in his North Walsham flat, where he could have lain for days.

Police are still investigating the death of a 66-year-old man found in his North Walsham flat, where he could have lain for days.

Detectives say they are treating George Hurren's death as 'unexplained', but have released a 34-year-old man who shared his flat and was arrested on Saturday for questioning after the body was found.

Mr Hurren's family and neighbours have voiced concerns that housing officials failed to deal with the situation earlier when residents complained about the smell coming from the flat in Glebe Court, off Melbourne Road.

Victory Housing Trust has confirmed two officials visited the flat, but got no answer and were late reassured by the other man in the flat, by phone, that everything was all right. The trust says it will also investigate the situation to see if any lessons can be learned.

Mr Hurren's sister Margaret Davey said the family was appalled they had taken someone's word over the phone, and felt 'there are failings somewhere along the line.'

She denied claims by neighbours her brother had caused problems through shouting and throwing things at people, adding that he was 'one of the most modest, gentle people you could meet,' who 'never bothered anybody' and 'kept himself to himself.' But she said she felt sorry for the residents who had to suffer the smell.

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The alarm was raised by Rosie Hannah who lives in the neighbouring block after she took her four year-old-son Dylan to stay with his granny in the same block as the dead man.

'My parents began complaining about the smell at the start of the week. When I went up there on Friday night I had to pull my jumper over my nose it was so bad.

'There was no point in calling the housing association or council at the weekend, so I called the police, and told them it smelled like death in there – but I did not know what had happened until later.

'I am angry it has come to this. Earlier in the week two officials came out, and went away again without doing anything.

'The police have told neighbours the man has been dead for seven to 10 days, so he must have been dead when they visited,' she added.

Victory Housing deputy chief executive Darryl Cox said that following complaints about a smell two of the trust's neighbourhood officers visited but 'got no response', and spoke to neighbours but reported there was 'little or no smell.'

He added: 'One of the officers later telephoned and spoke to the tenant's nephew, who reported that there was no problem.'

Police say the death was being treated as 'unexplained'. Officers from the joint Norfolk and Suffolk major investigation team are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death, and appealing for anyone with information to contact Norfolk Police on 0845 456 4567 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.