Woman lay dead in flat for two years ‘but landlord kept taking rent money’

A woman who lay dead in her flat for two years without anyone knowing was still charged rent by her landlord.

Sheila Seleonae's body was found on the floor in her home in Peckham, south-east London, February this year, with neighbours claiming she had gone missing in 2020.

Her gas supply had been shut off, but her landlord still charged rent.

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According to The Mirror, when someone finally called the police, they found the 61-year-old in a “skeletal state”.

The horror story was heard at an inquest into her death at Southwark Coroner's Court this week, where it was revealed that, having fallen behind in her rent payments in August 2019, an application was made for it to come out of her benefits.

This was approved in March 2020, despite nobody from the Peabody housing association attempting to contact her.

The gas was cut off after no response was given prior to a gas check.

Director of neighbourhoods at Peabody, Wells Chomutare, said: “We had the picture, we did not then join the dots in order to paint the picture.

“We are really not expected to force entry unless it's a very extreme situation.”

Her body, which was found in the recovery position when police did enter the property, had to be identified via dental records due to the state it was in.

No actual cause of death was revealed because they body was too decomposed.

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Having gone through the women's fridge and checking the rent paid dates, detectives claim that she died in August 2019.

Detective Sergeant Scott Fisher, who found the body, said: “In the bathroom there was soiled clothing which indicated to me poor health or ill health.

“Further to that there were various medications that an internet search suggested various ailments.”

Assistant coroner Dr Julian Morris, who recorded an open conclusion into the death, said: “Any death is sad, but to lie undetected for all likelihood for over two years is difficult to fathom in 2022.

“It is impossible for me to reach a conclusion of natural causes because I have no evidence.

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“Something went wrong and there was a delay in raising any flags.

“There was, on the evidence provided, no real communication between the rent, gas and neighbourhood manager teams.

“However, for the avoidance of any doubt I do not consider on the balance that those actions or inactions had any effect on Mrs Seleoane's clinical status or could have saved her life, because sadly as I have stated I consider on the balance that she was already dead.”

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