Woman whose body was found in her flat may have been lying dead on the floor for months

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A woman whose body was found surrounded by water in her ‘swamp’ flat may have lain dead for months, neighbors have revealed.

The victim – who was known locally as Caroline McCrossan and was in her 60s – had complained of ‘streams of water’ pouring into her home from the flat above, dating back to March last year, it is said.

But housing bosses took no action and no clear welfare checks were carried out.

Her body was discovered last Friday when workmen finally broke into the one-bedroom flat just yards from Guy’s Hospital in south-east London.

The Victim - Known Locally As Caroline Mccrossan And In Her 60S - Had Complained Of 'Streams Of Water' Pouring Into Her Southwark Council Flat (Building Pictured)

The victim – known locally as Caroline McCrossan and in her 60s – had complained of ‘streams of water’ pouring into her Southwark council flat (building pictured)

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

But MailOnline has found that neighbours, who last saw the victim alive in August 2022, feared the property had been broken into.

One of the front door’s three windows was broken, allowing a burglar to gain entry to the property.

The broken window was covered with a black garbage bag taped to the front door.

A shocked neighbor said, “I can’t bear to think about what could have happened. That poor woman lived in appalling conditions and no one seemed to care.

“Nobody’s seen her since last summer. I thought maybe she had gone to stay with relatives.

“A few months ago, one of the front door windows was smashed and hastily taped shut with a taped garbage bag. It wasn’t safe.

“It wasn’t until the councilors came by last Friday that they secured it properly with a wooden plank that wasn’t screwed to the door.”

Neighbors at the Tabard Gardens estate told how the “isolated and vulnerable” victim, who was believed to live alone, was “left to fend for herself” by authorities.

The victim reportedly raised the alarm last March after water poured into her first-floor apartment through a punctured pipe in the building above her.

It got so bad that water started pouring through the ceiling of downstairs neighbor Jeffrey Frimpong (35).

The father-of-two told how he reported the leak to Southwark Council, which owns and manages the estate, on March 9 last year.

But officials took no action, despite him bombarding them with complaints.

He said, “When I entered her flat, it was like a rainforest. The water flowed down everywhere. I’ve never seen anything like it.

“There was so much water on the floor in the kitchen. It flowed fast like rapids.

“She complained about it to the council and so did I, but no one came and nothing happened. It is disgusting that people are forced to live like this.

“I emailed and called them, but no one wanted to come out.

“It got so bad that the water flooded into my gas meter and into the electricity. The lamp in my bathroom has blown and they removed the smoke detector. It was so dangerous.

“They finally sent someone on Friday. The workman couldn’t get through the door at first because there were so many letters behind it.

She lay there on the bathroom floor surrounded by water with her head next to the door. It was clear she was dead. When I saw that I walked away. It was horrible.’

Mr Frimpong said he had not seen his neighbor since last summer.

He said, “The council told me they couldn’t do anything about it unless she was there to open the door for them. I didn’t know they had the powers to break in in an emergency. Why didn’t they do that months ago?

“The police said they found no food in the house at all. I don’t want to think about how she spent her last days. There would be a housing officer who visits regularly. Why were there no welfare checks?

‘It’s terrible. Me and my family are traumatized by what happened. We want answers.

“My neighbor could have moved around and seemed to be able to fend for herself, but she seemed quite isolated.

“She lived there alone for a long time. I never saw anyone else visit the premises, but the police said they found another woman’s passport inside.’

Another neighbor, who declined to be named, said, “It’s so sad. She was always very polite when you said hello and kept the front door open for other tenants.

‘I’d see her shopping at the local Sainsbury’s. She always looked good when she went out and wore her makeup.

She didn’t seem to have any friends or family visiting. Then suddenly she seemed to disappear. I hadn’t seen her in months.

“Then I noticed that her front door window had been smashed and I thought maybe she had lost her keys and had to smash the window to get back in.

“When I found out what had happened, I was shocked.”

Councilor Darren Merrill, cabinet member for social housing and homelessness, said: ‘I am incredibly saddened that a woman has been found dead in one of our town halls and send my sincere condolences to her family and friends.

“We support the police in determining the exact circumstances and thoroughly check all files that the municipality has regarding this property and the tenant.

“I know this is an extremely distressing situation for people living on the block, and I want to reassure them that we will provide as much support as possible.”

Police said a report would be prepared for the coroner.

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