SA woman who lay dead in her London flat for nearly 3 years, buried in SA

Nearly three years after a 61-year-old woman died in her UK apartment, her remains have been brought to South Africa. Picture: Pexels

Durban – Nearly three years after a 61-year-old woman died in her UK apartment, her mortal remains have been brought to South Africa so she could be buried among relatives.

Sheila Seleoane’s lonely death has gripped the world after international news agencies broke the news of how her body was found in 2022 despite having died in 2019.

According to the Daily Mail, Seleoane, a British-born medical secretary, died in 2019. Her mother, Adelina, emigrated to London in 1954 where she worked as a housekeeper for a London doctor.

In October 2019, neighbours repeatedly complained of a foul smell emanating from her apartment to The Peabody Trust, which administers and oversees the apartments, however nothing was done. Neighbours also complained of their homes becoming infested with maggots and flies.

When London police finally broke into her apartment, they found Seleoane’s remains on a sofa. Her cause of death is yet to be made known however an inquest has been set up. An independent report into how Seleoane who never married and had no children, was left to lay dead in her flat for two-and-a-half years will also be published.

A small funeral service took place in London in April, attended by Seleoane’s estranged brother who is imprisoned in the UK, and a representative from The Peabody Trust. Her family was traced in the Eastern Cape and Seleoane’s remains were flown to South Africa for a service and burial, attended by at least 100 people last month.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, a relative of Seleoane, asked how no one knew the woman had died.

“Here, when your neighbour isn’t seen, even for one or two days, you go to check up on them. We live as a community. This is too much. Awful. I don’t understand how anyone could pass away and be left for so long,” she said.

Media reports suggest that some residents are taking action at the housing ombudsman after learning that they had been living next to a corpse. Residents claimed that their, at least, 50 complaints and requests were ignored by the housing body.


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