An Edmonton man has been given a suspended sentence and two years probation for leaving his dead wife's decomposing body in their apartment for three months because he couldn't afford to pay for a funeral.

Walter Gladu-Chokopeu, 58, pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully failing to notify authorities of a body or human remains.

Judge Marilena Carminati of provincial court said at the sentencing hearing Tuesday that she took his guilty plea into account and his positive pre-sentence report.

Carminati also sentenced Gladu-Chokopeu to 100 hours of community service, alcohol abuse treatment and counselling.

Police were called to the couple's downtown apartment on Jan. 9, 2010, after a complaint of a "foul smell" coming from a suite on the second floor.

Officers discovered the badly decomposed body of Gladu-Chokopeu's wife Joyce on the bedroom floor. She had died in October.

Court heard Gladu-Chokopeu was terrified to call police because he was afraid of being arrested.

He also said he couldn't afford to pay for a funeral.

Crown prosecutor Marisa Anderson described Gladu-Chokopeu as a man with a sad past. A residential school survivor, he lived with Joyce for 23 years.

Joyce suffered a stroke in 1985 and Gladu-Chokopeu became her caregiver.

The couple lived off Joyce's AISH payments of $1,200 a month, the court heard.