Horrified neighbours of Stefano Brizzi spoke of the “terrible stench” from his flat – and how he answered his door wearing nothing but Speedos and a pair of glasses.
Martin Harris, 49, knocked on the man’s door before Gordon Semple’s remains were found, because his brother, Stephen, had complained about the smell.
But when he answered, Brizzi calmly told him that he was “cooking for a mate”.
Mr Harris said: “My brother complained about the smell and asked me to go and complain.
“I banged on the door and a man answered wearing Speedos and a pair of glasses.”
Mr Harris said that there was a “terrible stench,” adding: “I knew it was a dead body.
“I asked what was going on and he said he was cooking for a mate.
“I said I was going to call the police but he didn’t seem worried about it.
“He didn’t seem bothered and shut the door.”
Mr Harris suggested at the time that the man had “obviously chopped someone up in the bath”, but couldn’t back it up.
Another neighbour told how there was a regular stream of people “coming and going” from Brizzi’s flat on the Peabody Estate near London Bridge in south London.
Detectives made the gruesome find at the address on Southwark Street six days after the Met Police officer was last seen alive.
The neighbour, who asked not to be named, said he had never seen the 59-year-old officer on the estate before.
He said: “The geezer invited me into his gaff so many times in the past. There’s lots of weird things going on.
“I hadn’t seen the copper there before.”
Residents on the estate also claimed that Brizzi left scented candles outside his flat to mask the “terrible stench”.
Heather Brown, 55, said: “He had put scented candles outside his flat because of the smell.
“His neighbour Martin knocked on the door because they just smelt this horrible smell.
“He had smelt a dead body before because someone else had died there a long time ago – that’s why he knew the smell.”
Ms Brown, a manager at stationers Ryman, added: “I go to work and leave my windows open because on this estate there’s never any problems.
“I’ve lived here 30 years and it’s a very quiet estate and a very quiet community. It’s very unusual.”