A man who kept a dead body in a flat freezer for over two years in the West Midlands has been jailed.

Damion Johnson, aged 51, pleaded guilty at Derby Crown Court to preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body at a previous hearing in May 2023.

He initially pleaded not guilty to three counts of fraud but changed his plea in August.

On Tuesday 5 December he was sentenced to two years in jail for preventing a lawful burial and received six months for each of the three counts of fraud, which will run concurrently.

The 51-year-old had lived with John Wainwright, who he claimed was a father figure, for a number of years at a flat in Holloway Head, Birmingham. 

But when the 71-year-old died, Johnson bought a freezer online to conceal his body and stole money from his account over a number of years.

The body of Mr Wainwright was discovered inside the freezer by workmen at a skip yard in Warwickshire in August 2020, after Johnson was evicted from the flat which was cleared by contractors.

Officers investigating the death also discovered that from September 2018 until August 2020 Johnson had been using Mr Wainwright’s bank card and bank account to fund his lifestyle.

It’s estimated that over £20,000 was stolen over two years which included a carer’s allowance that Johnson continued to claim. 

A post mortem revealed that Wainwright had injuries to his head, which Johnson claimed were sustained from a fall when he was out shopping weeks before his death.

In interview Johnson told officers that Wainwright had died of what he believed were natural causes and in his panic after finding his body he decided to conceal his death.

He was unable to explain why he kept claiming benefits as his carer and stole from his bank cards.

Inspector Ranj Sangha said: “Mr Wainwright was denied the dignity of a lawful burial and the circumstances of his death required investigation. 

“Johnson has admitted placing him into a freezer after his death but denied causing him any harm or being responsible for his death.

“Johnson said that he was suffering from hallucinations at the time of his friend’s death yet the ordering of the freezer and it’s delivery days later would show a degree of planning by Johnson. 

“He then concocted a web of lies about Mr Wainwright’s death which has been consistently told to friends and family for his own benefit of receiving money that he wasn’t entitled to and a place to reside.  

“The discovery of the body after a period of two years was in tragic circumstances and has affected all those involved. However, Johnson has not once shown any remorse throughout the investigation for the way in which Mr Wainwright was treated.”