• Wednesday, August 10, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Housing association apologises over woman, 58, lay dead in UK flat for more than two years

Sheila Seleoane was identified by dental records.

Sheila Seleoane died in Lord’s Court in Peckham in 2019.(Photo: Google)

By: Pramod Thomas

A housing association has apologised for not realising one of its residents had been dead for two and a half years, according to reports. 

Peabody housing association failed to report the death of Sheila Seleoane, 58. She died in Lord’s Court in Peckham in 2019, but her body wasn’t discovered until 2022. She was last heard from in August 2019, the last month she made a rent payment.

Neighbours noticed a balcony door swinging open following Storm Eunice in February 2022. Police broke into the flat and Seleoane was identified by dental records.

According to the BBC, an inquest on Thursday (21) found that there had been numerous missed opportunities by both Peabody and the police.

Peabody’s chief executive Ian McDermott admitted that they didn’t ask the most fundamental question – ‘is Sheila ok?’. It also blamed the pandemic for the delay in recovering the body.

“The biggest apology though I think does go to the residents of Lord’s Court. They did tell us that something was wrong,” he was quoted as saying by Sky News.

Peabody said that it had recorded 89 attempts to contact Seleoane, but recognised these were not substantive and none were successful.

In June 2020, three months after applying for Universal Credit to cover her rent when the first lockdown started, the gas supply to the flat was cut.

By October 2020 the housing association had contacted the Metropolitan Police to perform a welfare check on Seleoane and an officer incorrectly told them she was safe and well.

Coroner Dr Julian Morris said: “Any death is sad. To lie undetected for in all likelihood over two years is difficult to fathom in 2022.”

Eastern Eye

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