AN independent expert has been called in to investigate the death of a rough sleeper whose decomposing body was found in a tent.

Leaders at Worcester City Council had previously said no review would take place into the death of Cardon Banfield unless another rough sleeper died - but now an independent investigation is underway.

It comes more than a year and a half after Mr Banfield's body was found in a tent near Worcestershire County Cricket Club in Worcester on July 5, 2016.

The 74-year-old's body was so badly decomposed he had to be identified from his DNA when he was discovered in a tent pitched by a footpath running alongside the river and Severn Bridge car park.

A spokesman for Worcester City Council said: "Homeless Link, the national umbrella body for organisations working with homeless people, last year produced new guidelines on responding to the death of a rough sleeper.

"Having discussed these guidelines with our partners, the city council has brought in an independent expert to review how Worcester services interacted with Cardon Banfield in the months before his death in July 2016 and to assess whether there any lessons that need to be learned."

Former rough sleeper Hugo Sugg, who organised a vigil for his friend Mr Banfield to mark the anniversary of his death, had previously said how 'shocked and outraged' he was when he was told no review would be launched unless another rough sleeper died.

A spokesman for Worcester City Council said last November that following Mr Banfield’s death the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board looked into his case and the city council housing team provided information on their dealings with him.

In December 2016 Kathy McAteer, chairman of Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board described Mr Banfield’s death as ‘a very sad situation’ but no safeguarding adult review (SAR) was launched.

In her statement the chairman added: "The Case Review Sub-Group of the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board have reviewed the referral and made the decision not to carry out a Safeguarding Adults Review as, firstly, Mr Banfield was deemed to, at his own choice, only have had very limited involvement with services in Worcestershire."

Mr Sugg said he and Worcestershire Healthwatch had put pressure on the city council to launch a review.

He said: "This is great news. It has to now be done properly. This has to be a thorough investigation which digs down to the answers rather than just a whitewash.

"It's not necessarily about his death but about why he was left for so long and the systemic reasons he was left to partially mummify.

"They have finally seen sense. I'm going to be there 100 per cent to support them and co-operate with them, put the past behind us to some extent, and make sure lessons are learned and this doesn't happen again."