A pensioner was found dead on the floor after he kept quiet about a skin cancer so bad that it had taken over his whole back and infected his internal organs.

Colin Peddle, 72, had been dead for three weeks before he was found by council staff and police on the bedroom floor at his home on December 18, 2012, in Elsenham Street, Southfields, next to Wimbledon Park.

At Westminster Coroner’s Court on February 14, Dr William Dolman said: “Mr Peddle had had a malignant melanoma – the most appalling of skin tumours – on his back.

“He kept that to himself and had not sought medical help.

“It is one of the most appalling malignancies that humanity has to face.”

The skin cancer, “described as large, fungal, black tumour”, had spread all over Mr Peddle’s back, then to his skull, liver and kidneys.

After not having been seen for three weeks, a friend alerted Wandsworth council who sent out a housing officer with a locksmith who forced entry into the property.

They found him lying on the floor, covered in flies and maggots, and the body was so badly rotten that the pathologist carrying out the post-mortem, Dr Michael Heath, was unable to give a formal cause of death.

A former shop-fitter, the Fulham born pensioner had never married, had no children, and had three siblings who had all passed away.

Dr Dolman recorded a verdict of natural causes.