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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Starving dog fed on human remains
The property where the bodies were found
The deaths of the couple were not suspicious, police said
A starving dog was forced to eat the remains of his owner after the man and his wife died from natural causes at their Kent home, an inquest has heard.

The badly-decomposed bodies of Albert Sprigens, 82, and his bedridden wife Audrey, 70, were found at their home in Brenchley near Pembury, on 7 September.

Mr Sprigens' death was consistent with heart disease and his wife had probably been unable to call for help.

Tunbridge Wells coroner Roger Hatch recorded open verdicts.

Emaciated dog

Police were called to the couple's home after a postman noticed the letterbox was overfull and the German Shepherd dog looked emaciated.

Det Insp Jon Clayden told the inquest on Wednesday that police encountered an "overwhelming smell" on entering the property.

He said Mr Sprigens, a retired aircraft engineer, was in the bath fully clothed, while his wife was lying on the bedroom floor in her nightclothes.

Mr Clayden said: "Mr Sprigens' bedridden wife had been unable to summon any assistance, and then died."

He added that there had been nothing to arouse suspicion with regard to the circumstances surrounding their deaths.

A Home Office pathologist was unable to find a cause of death for either of them, but concluded Mr Sprigens' death was consistent with heart disease.

The couple, who were rarely seen by neighbours, had no children.


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