Woman shocked after this falls out of her ceiling while she was changing her lightbulbs

A woman who unknowingly lived in a flat below her neighbour's dead body was left feeling ‘like in the horror movie’. After struggling to survive in a foul-smelling maggots-infested property for two years, she now plans to sue the housing association.

Woman shocked after this falls out of her ceiling while she was changing her lightbulbs
© Photo by Teona Swift on Pexels.com
Woman shocked after this falls out of her ceiling while she was changing her lightbulbs

Despite residents continuously complaining about the foul smell and larvae taking over their flats along with the disappearance of their neighbour, both the housing association and police failed to connect the dots and act on the death of Sheila Seleoane.

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The failure left the residents feeling like ‘living in a horror movie’, unable to sleep and eat in their homes for two and a half years.

'I changed the lightbulb and maggots fell out’

Chantel - not her real name - said the larvae took over her flat after her neighbour Sheila Seleoane, who lived on the floor above in Peckham, south London, died in August 2019 and was not found until February 2022.

The 58-year-old medical secretary's skeletal remains were found when police knocked down her door after years of complaints from residents, which they say weren't acted upon by landlord Peabody Housing.

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Neighbours say they tried multiple times to raise the alarm over Sheila and had complained about a 'smell of death’ but none of it was acted upon.

As the weeks and months passed, they were left unable to sleep due to the stench coming from her flat.

Chantel said the experience was like 'living in a horror movie' and was horrified to find the maggots falling from the ceiling when she changed her lightbulb.

The woman said:

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.

She added that when she complained she was told Peabody's pest control 'don't deal with maggots'.

How could Ms Seleoane’s death fall through the cracks?

Ms Seleoane had not been seen since August 14, 2019, when she spoke to her GP to organise an appointment for the following day, which she failed to attend.

Her bank records show that her last 'active' transaction was that month after she paid her rent to the Peabody Trust via debit card.

When her bank account ran out of funds and the rent was no longer being paid, Peabody applied for Universal Credit in her name and had it paid directly to them.

Her gas safety check in April 2020 could not be completed as contractors were unable to get into her flat - instead of sending someone to visit, Peabody turned off her gas supply.

When the housing association did finally send someone after complaints from residents about a year after she died, they asked the police to check on her.

But when officers knocked on her door they decided there was not enough justification to knock it down. This, followed by a mistake by a police operator falsely saying she had been seen alive, meant it took more than a year for police to find her body.

What’s next for the residents?

Despite the housing group sending a letter to all tenants apologising for the ‘missed opportunities’ in Ms Seleoane's body being undiscovered for two and half years, the residents are still thinking of suing their neglectful landlord.

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Sources used:

- Mail Online: ''I changed the lightbulb and maggots fell out. It was like living in a horror movie': Woman who unknowingly lived in flat below her neighbour's dead body for two years reveals how larvae infested her home - as residents plan to sue housing association'

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