Mummified body in hoarder home a 'mystery'

Perry Duffin
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BODY FOUND SYDNEY

Police are trying to unravel the 'mystery' unfolding on a leafy, dead-end street in Greenwich

A hoarder on Sydney's affluent north shore may have been living alongside a mummified body for weeks, months or even years before he, too, died in the ramshackle house, police say.

They are trying to unravel the gruesome mystery unfolding on a leafy, dead-end street in Greenwich.

Cleaners were sent on Tuesday to clear out the home of Bruce Roberts, described as a loner and a hoarder, who died in July last year.

Inside the living room of the overgrown Greendale Street house, they found badly decomposing, partly-skeletal remains - described by authorities as "mummified".

A preliminary post-mortem examination revealed it was a man in his 30s or 40s, with the body showing a number of injuries, Acting Superintendent Simon Jones told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

His cause of death is not yet known, but Supt Jones said it was unnatural and suspicious.

"It is a mystery and we need to take the time to investigate the circumstances properly and thoroughly so we must treat the death as suspicious," he said.

Mr Roberts' death is not considered suspicious, though detectives must now piece together how his body was recovered from his home without anyone noticing the second corpse.

Police said they can't rule out that Mr Roberts knew the body was in his home or if he was involved in the unidentified man's death.

Investigators are uncertain when the other man died, but noted the corpse had been in the home "for a considerable time".

Supt Jones said Mr Roberts was not yet a suspect and missing persons reports were being examined as police try to establish the second dead man's identity.

Dog squad and detectives remained at the house on Friday and numerous items were seized - including clothing from the body.

Long-time neighbour Gayle Meagher recalled exchanging pleasantries with the man.

"He was a bit of a recluse," she told the ABC on Thursday.