Body found in Fakenham

Chris HillThe body of an elderly woman could have lain undiscovered for more than a year in her Fakenham home before it was found by police on Thursday night. Officers broke into the house on Tunn Street at about 9.Chris Hill

Fakenham has been a town in shock and sadness this week after it emerged that an elderly woman had lain dead in her home for at least 12 months without anyone noticing.

It was only an anonymous tip-off that led police to break into the home in Tunn Street late last Thursday night to make the grim and sad discovery.

From unopened mail and old newspapers found in the house, in the town's bustling market place, they think she had been dead at least 12 months.

Police said the death was not suspicious but have asked for more information to solve the riddle of who the woman was, who discovered her, and why no-one had noticed her disappearance.

A post mortem was due to be held yesterday morning and an inquest into the woman's death will be opened in coming days.

Her identity has still not been officially been released.

Most Read

Jayne Cubitt, town mayor, expressed shock and sadness over the discovery, I feeling echoed throughout the town.

She said: 'I find it very sad that someone has died in their own home and no one knew about it.'

Mrs Cubitt said she considered it a very sad situation that the woman, who has not yet been officially identified, had appeared to have not been missed by anyone.

The woman was discovered late on Thursday night and her body was removed from the home the next morning.

Next of kin have been informed.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said she had only spoken to the woman twice in 12 years, the last time in 2003.

'She just kept herself to herself and so we did not notice anything had changed. She made it so clear that she did not want conversation, and you just have to respect people's wishes, don't you?'

'But there is still a sense that somehow I should have noticed something.'

Another neighbour, 49-year-old retired policeman Billy Durrant, said: 'I moved here in 2004 and I have never seen anyone go in or out of that house, which seemed strange.'

He said an 'unoccupied dwelling' notice, often used by landlords in formal repossession proceedings, was placed on the door earlier this year.

Spokesmen for both North Norfolk District Council and Broadland Housing Association said the notice had not been placed by their organisations.

Det Insp Paul Chapman said: 'As a result of police enquiries relating to unopened mail and newspapers it appears the body may have been at the location in excess of 12 months.

'I would stress that we are not treating this as suspicious, but we want to speak to the person who called us about how they knew the body was in the house.'

t Anyone with information should contact Norfolk police on 0845 456 4567.