THREE people were convicted yesterday of conspiring to prevent the lawful burial of a body following the death of Zbigniew Michniewicz in Southall.

One of them was also convicted of grievous bodily harm on the victim.

The guilty verdicts were returned at Isleworth Crown Court in respect of two men. A third man had previously pleaded guilty.

The body of Michniewicz, 36, was found by police in December last year in a bedroom at the address where he was staying in Greenford Road.

Police were called after a relative reported concerns for his welfare, having not heard from him for some time.

Mr Michniewicz was a Polish national. He had been working as a labourer, but was unemployed at the time of his death.

The house in Greenford Road was being used as a squat by the victim and the defendants.

Mr Michniewicz had been assaulted in his room some three weeks earlier. A post-mortem examination showed he had been repeatedly struck all over his body, including blows to the face, resulting in fractures to his eye-socket, cheekbone and jaw.

The time at which he sustained those injuries, or indeed the time of his death, could not be confirmed, but the pathologist's conclusion was that drug abuse, rather than assault injuries, were the cause of death.

The defendants chose not to alert the authorities to the death of Mr Michniewicz, for fear of losing their access to the squat in Greenford Road. Instead, a five-foot-deep grave was prepared for the victim in the back garden.

There was clearly a period when they could have called an ambulance or sought medical help and they did nothing.

A trial began on May 19 at Isleworth. Two men were found guilty of conspiring to prevent the lawful and decent burial of a dead body without lawful excuse. They are: Piotr Juszczak, 21, and Arkadiusz Majchrazk, 45, both of no fixed abode.

A third man pleaded guilty in March. He is Grzegorz Roznerski, 40, of The Crescent, Slough.

Majchrazak was also found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Mr Michniewicz.

They will all be sentenced on Monday.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh said: "The selfishness of this crime is appalling.

"These people believed that alerting the authorities to the death would have caused them to vacate the property in which they were squatting. Their actions are beyond belief - totally self-centered and cruel.

“They planned to bury the body in the back garden rather than allowing Zbigniew Michniewicz a decent funeral and telling his family the truth about his death.

"Those who failed to plead guilty have shown a complete lack of remorse for the death of one of their compatriots. They have refused to engage with the police and the judicial system, which has been particularly distressing for the victim's family."

DCI McHugh added: "The community has been very supportive and the media have played an important part in encouraging witnesses to come forward. I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and integrity of the witnesses who took gave evidence against these individuals."