Stanislaw Puchala, 61, was found dead with marks of having been mauled by a bear in southern Poland
* Polish man found dead and mauled by a bear in the woods

* Autopsy finds man had been killed before bear attacked the body

* Police in south Poland believes Stanislaw Puchala, 61, was murdered

A bear has escaped by the skin of its teeth after it was found not to be responsible for the killing of a Polish man.

Stanislaw Puchala, 61, was found dead with marks of having been mauled by a bear near the village of Olszanica in the Bieszczady Mountains, southern Poland.

The village hunting party sent out to shoot the bear was called off when an autopsy revealed Mr Puchala had been murdered.


Innocent: An autopsy has revealed Mr Puchala's body was mauled by the bear post-mortem (stock image)
Puchala had been walking in forests near his home in Olszanica when he went missing.

A search the next day had to be called off after the rescue team were attacked by a bear.

When the man's mauled body was found the following day, it was assumed that the bear had killed him.


Attacked: A party sent out to search for the missing pensioner on quadbikes were attacked by the bear
But a post-mortem inspection has revealed Mr Puchala's death was not caused by the bear, and that that only after he was dead had his body been savaged by the predator.

Prosecutor spokeswoman Maria Chrzanowska said: 'I do not deny that there are wounds on the body which may have been made by a bear, but they were not the cause of death.

'Everything points to this being a murder.'

Ms Chrzanowska did not comment further on the cause of death was but say police have now launched a full-scale murder investigation.

The order to kill the bear was made after the body was found but it has now been cancelled after the autopsy revealed the animal was not to blame.

The police spokeswoman Chrzanowska added: 'The bear did attack the quad bikes but at this time of year they are particularly active and no-one was hurt.'

The bear is still being closely monitored.


Murder investigation: Polish police officers in the area where Mr Puchala was last seen