Woman’s flat ‘infested with maggots’ after neighbour lay dead for two years

  • london
  • April 3, 2023
  • Comments Off on Woman’s flat ‘infested with maggots’ after neighbour lay dead for two years
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A woman who unknowingly lived below her neighbour’s dead body for more than two years has revealed how maggots ‘infested’ her home.

Chantel, who did not want to use her real name, said maggots took over her flat in Lord’s Court in Peckham, south London, after her upstairs neighbour died and was not discovered for two-and-a-half years.

Sheila Seleoane, 58, died in August 2019 but her skeletal remains were not found until February 2022.

Her body was so decomposed that it was not possible to determine her cause of death.

Neighbours complained to landlord Peabody Housing multiple times and Chantel described the situation as like ‘living in a horror movie’.

She described maggots falling from the ceiling when she changed a lightbulb, adding: ‘I’ve got them in the bedroom, the living room, and the bathroom. And more or less all over my furniture.

‘You’d sit down on the sofa and after a period of time you’d find a squashed maggot.’

But when Chantel complained to Peabody they said their pest control ‘don’t deal with maggots’.

Lyesha, who did not want to share her surname and lived on the same floor as Sheila, told the BBC ‘nobody came’ from Peabody, despite complaints of a ‘smell of death’.

Another neighbour kept a written record of when they first called the landlord to complain – October 10, 2019 – more than two years before Sheila’s body was found.

Donatus Okeke said his family tried putting towels and sheets under the door to keep the smell out.

‘We couldn’t even sleep in the flat. You couldn’t even eat because it was a very, very bad odour,’ he said. 

Sheila’s post began to overflow and when cleaners moved her doormat to vacuum outside her flat, it was never returned.

When her bank account ran out of funds to pay her rent, Peabody applied for Universal Credit in her name and had it paid directly to them.

And when her gas safety check couldn’t be completed in April 2020 because contractors couldn’t get into her flat, Peabody simply turned off her gas supply.

A spokesman for Peabody 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.

‘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.   

‘We have been open, honest and transparent about what went wrong. We immediately commissioned an independent report which we published in full and are acting on all 37 recommendations the report raised.

‘We know very well that our services are not as good as they need to be. But we are determined to live our values, learn our lessons and continuously improve for the benefit of residents.’

The Peabody Housing Group sent a letter to all tenants in the block to apologise for the ‘missed opportunities’ in Sheila’s body laying undiscovered for so long.

Following the inquest into her death, Peabody’s chief executive Ian McDermott said: ‘We weren’t asking the fundamental question: is Sheila okay?’ 

‘We’ve apologised to the family. We’re deeply sorry for what happened.

‘The biggest apology though I think does go to the residents of Lord’s Court. They did tell us that something was wrong.’

Lord’s Court residents are now said to be considering whether to sue Peabody for compensation.

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