Brother accused of hiding Denny death

The Denny house where body was found
The Denny house where body was found

A body lay decomposing under a sofa for more than three years as part of an alleged benefits scam.

The skeletal remains of John Brown, known as Ian, were found by firefighters in a flat in Bridge Crescent, Denny, in December 2010.

His brother, Alistair (61), is alleged to have concealed his death from authorities so he could continue living in the property and claimed over £38,000 in benefits meant to go to Ian.

At Alloa Sheriff Court on Monday Brown, of Falkirk, appeared in connection with failing to notify proper authorities of a death, two charges of fraud and breaking the terms of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act.

He is also accused of lying to 
council workers and contractors in 
2009-10 and pretending his brother was alive.

Ian is thought to have died around August 1, 2007, when he was in his 60s. It is believed Brown was caring for him at the time of his death and they both lived together in the flat.

It is alleged Brown continued to withdraw benefits from his deceased brother’s bank account between August 2007 and January 2011, totalling £38,237.

He was originally under suspicion of murder after the remains were discovered by a fire crew that had been called out by a neighbour concerned about a burst pipe - but he is not accused of taking his brother’s life.

Brown’s solicitor, George Higgins, asked the case be allowed to continue with no plea to look into the possibility of a psychiatric report being carried out on his client. 
Mr Higgins also said the defence team were seeking Legal Aid approval to go ahead with the report.

Sheriff Fiona Tait continued the case without plea and he will return to court for a preliminary hearing on Monday. His bail was continued.