A recluse who only left his house under the cover of darkness could have been lying dead in his home for more than a month.

The body of Philip Penzer, 58, was discovered by police after a neighbour complained of a smell from his Totton home.

Southampton Coroner's Court heard how PC Tony Morgan used a ladder to get into an upstairs window before discovering Mr Penzer lying fully clothed on his bedroom floor.

Mr Penzer was found on February 12 but there was some dispute as to the date he died as he had unopened Christmas cards in his home.

Dr Bruce Addis, who conducted the post-mortem, said that the decolourisation of the skin and blisters suggested he had been there for a number of weeks.

But he added that the cause of death could not be ascertained as his body was too badly decomposed.

Coroner Keith Wiseman recorded a verdict of natural causes.