A WAR hero lay dead in his council flat for nine years before his body was thrown under a bush, an inquest heard. 

When Benjamin Benit's remains were found wrapped up in a sheet in undergrowth he was still wearing an England replica shirt from the 2002 World Cup. His left hand was missing.
Southwark Coroners' Court heard an unknown fraudster had collected Mr Benit's pension since he died - even after the body was dumped.

Detectives later arrested a man who gave his name as Benjamin Benit, but he was released without charge.

A dog walker made the grisly discovery of Mr Benit's decomposed body in Lovelinch Close, New Cross, on August 10 last year. 

The inquest heard the body had only recently been moved from Mr Benit's flat.  

Sawdust from a nearby tree being cut was underneath the bag containing Mr Benit, showing he had been left there after August 5. 

DNA tests confirmed the identity of the body, and also revealed the left hand was missing. 

It was recovered by council officers when Mr Benit's home in Heversham House, Ilderton Road, New Cross, was cleared out by council officers on August 23. 

Mr Benit was born in south London on 6 June 1925, and served in the RAF during the Second World War. 
Mr Benit often told friends he had played goalkeeper for Millwall FC after the war, and was a regular drinker in pubs around Old Kent Road and New Cross Road. 

He had missed a routine GP appointment in April 2002 and would have been 76 at the time of his death.

Coroner Tony Badenoch said: "From all the available evidence, it follows that Benjamin Benit came by his death in an unknown way in the year 2002."

Recording an open verdict, the coroner said he did not have enough information to conclude the specific cause of Mr Benit's death.