Tributes have been paid to a 42-year-old Chorley man whose body lay undiscovered in his home for up to seven months.
Police made the grisly discovery on Friday, after neighbours of former soldier Stuart Bolton reported foul smells coming from the property in Wordsworth Terrace.
The alarm was raised after a window on an upstairs flat had remained wide open during the freezing temperatures.
When officers entered the house, they found Mr Bolton’s badly decomposing body.
It is believed he may have been there since May, and the cause of death is unknown, but it is not being treated as suspicious.
Stuart’s devastated family and friends have reacted in shock at the news and have paid tribute to the ‘Action Man’ on his Facebook profile.
One friend wrote: “I’ll miss our banter Stu and I’ll always remember the good times.
“Sleep peacefully you gentle, kind-hearted man.”
Another added: “RIP Stuart – always a gentleman. Very sad.”
A third friend of Stuart told the Guardian: “His heart was always in the right place and he was very jovial.
“He was an incredibly loyal friend, but he didn’t take any prisoners.
“He was very well known around Chorley as a real character and his death has come as a big shock to those who knew him.
“It’s very sad to think he has been there for so long.”
The friend, who asked not to be named, said Stuart had been in the French Foreign Legion, had served in Northern Ireland and had also been a keen amateur boxer.
They added: “He used to always be on Facebook, but suddenly his entries stopped in May.
“It wasn’t unusual for him not to be in contact with his friends and family for periods at a time so people weren’t suspicious.
“At the end of the day, though, he was a man of principle and was unique.
“He came from a big family and he had strong beliefs.
“He was always generous and had a lot of friends who will miss him.”
One of Stuart’s last entries on facebook was made on May 15, when he cited George Bernard Shaw and wrote: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
A picture of him was also posted on May 17, and friends had sent him birthday messages on July 9, but he hadn’t replied.
Police are now appealing for anybody who knew Stuart or saw him in the past six months to ring them on their new 101 number.
- Send your tributes to firstname.lastname@example.org.