Woman spent up to five years sleeping next to her brother's rotting corpse in 'house of horrors'

19 February 2024, 15:36 | Updated: 19 February 2024, 15:37

The 'house of horrors' was on Russell Street at Newtown in Geelong
The 'house of horrors' was on Russell Street at Newtown in Geelong. Picture: Google Maps

By Emma Soteriou

A woman spent up to five years sleeping next to her brother's rotting corpse in a rat-infested "house of horrors".

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Police discovered the corpse after arresting the woman on an unrelated matter on December 29, 2022.

The woman, who is in her 70s, lived with the body in her public housing unit in Geelong, south-west of Melbourne, for between two and five years.

“Officers attended the Russell Street property about 6pm and located the male deceased inside,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.

They had to work their way through rubbish, rats, dead possums and human faeces to get to the body.

"It was a bloody skeleton they removed, not a body," neighbour Nicole Stratton told the Geelong Advertiser. 

"How can someone be living with a dead body next door for five years and not a single person know about it?

"They've tried to sweep this under the rug. We have been living next to a house of horrors."

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She said the "utter filth" the woman had been living in may have helped cover up the stench of the dead body.

Authorities are understood to have received several complaints from neighbours for years but no action was taken. The man was last seen alive in 2018. 

“We complained to housing about the mess, and they would do checks but she would never open the door for them,” Ms Stratton said.

The woman who had been living in the house was released without charges in connection to the man's death - his cause of death is still being investigated.

The house has been vacant for over a year.

A Department of Families, Fairness and Housing spokesperson said: "Several welfare checks had been conducted at the property since 2021 due to growing concerns regarding lack of contact, lack of access and the poor state of the property."

They added: "This is a tragic incident. We send our sincerest condolences to the man's family and friends."

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