A Watford man became so withdrawn due to mental illness that he died in his flat and was not discovered for "several months".

Kevin Bennett, 40, had schizophrenia and used to move around so much it was difficult for his family to keep tabs on him.

He lived at the Grow Hostel, in Rickmansworth Road , after which he moved to another address before settling in Gladstone Road.

His brother Phil said: “Kevin felt if he moved away and left it all behind he would be okay. He didn't want to be treated, and that was the problem.”

Police Sergeant Andrew Thackham was called to the flat in Gladstone Road on May 27 after the downstairs neighbours became worried about Mr Bennett.

Their suspicions were aroused after he was not seen for several months and they noticed flies coming from one of the ceiling lights.

Neighbours said he usually could also be heard hoovering every day at 4.30pm.

Police Sergeant Thackham forced entry into the flat and said he knew immediately that someone in there had died.

He said there was a large amount of post at the front door, some of it dating back to April. As he went upstairs, calling out, Police Sergeant Thackham noticed that everything in the flat was neat and in order.

When he reached the bedroom the door was ajar and inside he discovered Mr Bennett who had been dead for a number for months.

Coroner Edward Thomas said it was impossible to tell how long ago he had died.

His brother Tim Bennett said: "We discovered that his job seeker's allowance was stopped and after that there had been no movement of money in his accounts since December.

"There were letters about his student loan and from credit card companies saying we're coming round but he just ignored them."

A post mortem found no signs of injury, but due to the advanced state of "mummification" it was impossible to give a cause of death.

Mr Thomas recorded an open verdict.

He said: "It was the nature of his illness to withdraw into himself and not contact anybody. It was an illness that didn't affect anybody else and that was the problem."