“Finding something like that would certainly be frightening,” a police spokesman told The Local on Monday.
Cops were called to the second-floor flat in Hagen, North Rhine-Westphalia by a neighbour who heard the smash of the would-be burglar kicking in the door.
When they went to investigate, they found a rubbish-strewn apartment – and the preserved corpse of the pensioner lying on the floor of the living room next to the television.
An autopsy later showed that the woman had been lying there for five years.
“In a warm, dry building a body can mummify itself,” the spokesman said.
“It would smell though,” he added.
The woman's rent and bills had been automatically paid from account, and “clearly no-one had noticed she had disappeared,” a police statement said.
An autopsy on Monday morning revealed that the woman was 66 when she died. The cause of death is not known, but police confirmed the corpse showed no signs of violence.
The Local/ DPA/jcw