A family have appeared in court after they were accused of keeping a dead relative in their house for six weeks.

Rina Yasutake’s body was found on a mattress in a state of decomposition at a property in Helmsley, North Yorkshire, in September last year.

Her mother, Michiko Yasutake, and siblings, Yoshika Yasutake and Takahiro Yasutake, have been charged with preventing the lawful burial of their relative.

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Police officers discovered the body after local pharmacy staff alerted them that the siblings were buying large amounts of surgical spirit.

They also reportedly told police Yoshika and Takahiro “smelled of dead bodies”, an earlier hearing was told. 

The cause of her death has not yet been revealed.

The three family members will stand trial next year.

They did not enter a plea at York Crown Court and spoke through a Japanese interpreter to confirm their names.

Judge Sean Morris allowed them bail on the condition that they continue living at their address in Yorkshire and give up their passports.

Additional reporting by agencies