A man lived with his dead brother's corpse for months because 'he was afraid of being lonely.'

Valeriy, 52, reportedly could not find the strength to bury his brother Andrey, 42 after he died, possibly from a heart attack.

Instead he slept near him and had a meal with the decomposing corpse for several months.

Local media report that he treated his brother as if he was alive, continuing to talk to him. The mummified body of the deceased was eventually found in Novomoskovsk, Ukraine.

Explaining his actions to the police, Valeriy said he 'lived with the corpse because he was afraid of loneliness'.

Concerned neighbour Albina and another man
Concerned neighbour Albina entered the property after she became worried

The shocking discovery was first made by concerned neighbours who went to the brothers' home after not seeing them for a long time.

Albina, a woman living next door reportedly said: "When we walked into the house we felt a horrific stench.

"A human figure was lying on the couch. It was covered with a blanket. When we threw the blanket aside, we saw a rotting human skeleton."

Explaining himself to his neighbours, Valeriy said he ‘had lived with his younger brother's corpse because he did not want to be lonely.’

Albina added: "Valeriy slept and had a meal near the decomposing corpse for several months.

"He treated his brother as if he was alive, continuing to talk to him. He said he was afraid of loneliness."

A picture of a house
Valeriy, 52, lived with his brother

The neighbours called the police who arrived at the scene before moving the mummified body from the couch on to a carpet and carrying it outside to be taken to a morgue.

Speaking with officers, Valeriy said that his brother died from a heart attack.

Hanna Starchevska, the police spokeswoman for the Dnipropetrovsk region police department was reported to have said: "The man lived with the corpse of his brother for four months.

"During a superficial examination, no signs of violent death were found on the body. According to the current version, the victim died of natural causes."

Officers said that investigations to determine the cause of death were under way.