A YOUNG woman who spent a month at home totally unaware her boyfriend was hanging in the loft has slammed police for putting her through an "agonising" ordeal.

Emma Cousins, 23, hit out at officers for failing to find the body of her boyfriend Matthew Crump - a mistake which left her and their three-year-old son Daniel in the same house for a day short of a month.

Speaking after an inquest at Stourport into the 22-year-old's death, Miss Cousins said: "They said they had searched the loft - you take their word for it, they are police. They obviously didn't and we have to live with that for the rest of our lives."

Matthew's mum Fiona said the police instead led the family on a "wild goose chase" which saw the search encompass Walsall.

She said: "We knew he wasn't going to be there. They took the search for Matthew away from Kidderminster to Walsall. If they had stayed in Kidderminster they would have searched the house again.

"This wouldn't have happened had they done a complete search of the house like they would have if they were searching a drug dealer's house."

Mr Crump was reported missing from his and Miss Cousins' house in Dunlin Drive, Kidderminster, on the morning of February 27 and - after a public appeal for the unemployed builder to return home - was found hanging by a white sheet in the roof of the house on March 26 during a second police search.

Worcestershire coroner Victor Round told the inquest the exact time of death could not be determined but Mr Crump was last seen at home by Miss Cousins on the morning of February 27 at 11.45am before she went to pick up their son from nursery.

When she returned at 1.15pm there was no sign of her boyfriend. The television and fire was on and he was reported missing to Kidderminster Police at 7.20pm.

Mr Round said police concentrated on searching the Walsall area because of a lead from a friend of Matthew's, Martin Latham.

However, he said: "We wondered whether he was right about that because Martin himself admits in view of his lifestyle he might have got his dates mixed up.

"Martin puts his possible vagueness to use of heroin."

Recording a verdict that he took his own life, Mr Round said Mr Crump had suffered from depression and was receiving voluntary psychiatric treatment two months before his death.