Body lain undiscovered for a year

THE body of an elderly woman could have lain undiscovered for more than a year in her Fakenham home before it was found by police.

THE body of an elderly woman could have lain undiscovered for more than a year in her Fakenham home before it was found by police.

Officers broke into the house on Tunn Street at about 9.20pm on Thursday after receiving an anonymous call.

No details were last night released about the condition of the body but police said piles of unopened mail and unread newspapers on her doormat, dating back at least a year, told their own story.

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

“I would stress 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.”

The body was removed yesterday morning as attempts continued to find the woman's next of kin.

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Neighbours said the house's occupant was rarely seen and shunned human contact - giving no clues she ever lived permanently at the address or that anything had happened to her.

They spoke of their shock and sadness that the woman's death went unnoticed for so long in their neighbourhood just a short distance from the town's bustling market place.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said she had only spoken to the woman twice in 12 years. “I am just so shocked,” she said. “Logically I can see how I did not know but there is still a sense that somehow I should have noticed something.

“What did I miss? What signs were there? If it was someone you see every day you would miss them and go to check, but there was nothing to suggest she ever lived there. There were no noises, no car, no shopping trips.

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

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