Residents are considering taking legal action against their housing association after their neighbour lay dead for more than two years before being discovered. They have shared harrowing details of the day police broke down the door of Sheila Seleoane’s home in February 2022 and found her partially decomposed body.
The 58-year-old medical secretary, a tenant of Peabody Housing Association who had lived in Lord’s Court, Peckham since 2014, and who was last seen alive during a GP visit in August 2019, needed to be identified by medical records, an inquest held last July was told.
One neighbour, Chantel (not her real name) raised concerns with Peabody after maggots fell from the ceiling when she went to change a lightbulb in her home, which was directly below Ms Seleoane’s.
She told the BBC: “It was like living in a horror movie.”
Chantel contacted Peabody but was told they did not deal with maggots.
She added: “It’s just really sad that somebody could be in their flat for so long and not be found, nobody going out of their way to gain contact with her.”
Another neighbour, Audrey, also raised concerns after noticing a stench “like a dead body”, adding: “It made me feel sick. I could taste it. It was just horrible.”
A third, Donatus Okeke, said: “We couldn’t even sleep in the flat. You couldn’t even eat because it was a very, very bad odour.”
Mr Okeke’s wife Evelyn said she called Peabody “many times”, including on October 10, 2019, just two months after Ms Seleoane is believed to have died.
Neighbours confirmed to the BBC they were considering the possibility of legal action against Peabody.
A post-mortem examination was unable to prove the cause of death because of the advanced state of decomposition, although she was known to have suffered from Crohn’s disease and bowel inflammation.
JUST IN: Russian thugs that murdered children in Bucha ‘had orders from Putin’
An inquest held in July 2022 at London Inner South Coroner’s Court concluded that she had died from “unknown causes”.
Delivering an open verdict, Dr Julian Morris added: “Any death is sad. To lie undetected for in all likelihood over two years, is difficult to fathom in 2022.”
A Peabody Housing Association spokesman said: “In February last year we realised that Sheila Seleoane had died in her flat and had remained there for more than two years.
“We were, and remain, devastated that this could have happened. We must and will learn from what happened to make sure we always put our residents first and that this never happens again.
“We understand how devastating this has been for residents of Lords Court. We’ve apologised and have been working hard since to try and repair the relationship with residents over the past year since Sheila was found.
Met Office’s Easter predictions as mercury set to soar in hours [LATEST]
Prince Harry’s ‘strange’ trip to London was attempt to shut down media [LATEST]
Harry and Meghan ‘honoured’ to be helping Turkey earthquake victims [LATEST]
“We are so sorry that this happened. Clearly we still have a long way to go. We’re continuing to try and find new homes for residents who wish to move.
“While we have moved some families, the desperate shortage of suitable affordable homes in London means that we have not been able to move everyone.”
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) spokesman said: “The tragic events surrounding Sheila Seleoane’s death shine a light on the utterly devastating impacts of social landlords ignoring their tenants.
“Social landlords have an obligation to ensure homes are of a decent standard and when our Social Housing Bill becomes law this year, a stronger Regulator will have powers to issue unlimited fines, enter properties with only 48 hours’ notice and make emergency repairs with landlords footing the bill.”
The spokesman added: “We are also committed to building more social homes and are investing £11.5billion through our Affordable Homes Programme to deliver tens of thousands of homes for rent and sale right across the country.”
Source: Read Full Article