A woman was found dead on the couch of her London apartment 3 years after her death.

By 05:24 Tue, 18 Jun 2013 Comments

A woman was found dead on the couch of her London apartment 3 years after her death. The TV was still on & a mountain of mail had built up behind the front door.

Brief: Joyce Carol Vincent (1965¨C2003) was a Londoner, of Caribbean and Indian descent, who died in 2003 in her bedsit flat in Wood Green, North London. Her body lay undiscovered for approximately three years, even though neighbours noticed the smell of decomposition. She had previously been in a shelter in Haringey for victims of domestic violence. She entered the shelter some time after 2001, when she left her well-paid job at Ernst & Young for reasons of which her colleagues remain unsure. She never took drugs and did not have a drinking problem.

Full Story [Very Long but Cut Short]: On 25 January 2006, officials from a north London housing association repossessing a bedsit in Wood Green owing to rent arrears made a grim discovery. Lying on the sofa was the skeleton of a 38-year-old woman who had been dead for almost three years. In a corner of the room the television set was still on, tuned to BBC1, and a small pile of unopened Christmas presents lay on the floor. Washing up was heaped in the kitchen sink and a mountain of post lay behind the front door. Food in the refrigerator was marked with 2003 expiry dates. The dead woman's body was so badly decomposed it could only be identified by comparing dental records with an old holiday photograph of her smiling. Her name was revealed to be Joyce Carol Vincent.

I first heard about Joyce when I picked up a discarded copy of the Sun on a London underground train. The paper reported the gothic circumstances of her death ¨C "Woman dead in flat for three years: skeleton of Joyce found on sofa with telly still on" ¨C but revealed almost nothing about her life. There was not even a photograph of her.

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