How could London Metropolitan Police not regard the death of Joyce Vincent as suspicious?

In 2006, Haringey Council rent collectors broke down the front door to a bedsit in a housing complex above Wood Green Shopping Centre, and found Joyce Vincent, a woman in her thirties, of Carribean and Indian descent, born in west London, and bred on Fulham Palace Road, sat on a sofa, just returned with the shopping, with the TV on, surrounded by Christmas presents, which she had just wrapped. Joyce, an attractive woman, had previously worked in the city for a shipping company, and for Ernst & Young and was said to have enjoyed an active social life, a life which included going out for dinner with Stevie Wonder and meeting Nelson Mandela. She dated a man named Martin regularly, taking in racing at Goodwood, tennis at Wimbledon, classical music, opera. She took elocution lessons, she was said to be interested in improving herself. When the rent inspectors arrived they had a look at the state of the flat, and found that with the exception of a large pile of washing up, things were as they should be. Oddly though, food in the refrigerator had expiry dates for February 2003, the month it seems, from which point Joyce’s body had begun to decompose, now in 2006, she was largely skeletal. Most of her body had been devoured over the years by small black insects, some of which were to be seen walking in and around the window frames and rooms of neighboring flats.

The isolation of Joyce Vincent whose rotting corpse laid unattended for three years on the couch of the flat, seemed to have something to do with:

  • Domestic violence. She had been the victim of domestic violence, and had ended up living in a shelter for the vicitms of domestic violence. People who knew Joyce Vincent in her younger years described her as upwardly mobile and a high flyer.
  • The loss of her mother, at the age of 11. Joyce was said to have a real bond, was said to have died at age 11.
  • Neglect: apparently, no-one, including her neighbours, her family, the companies that charged her for electricity, gas and water, the Council who had charged her rent, had been sufficiently interested to investigate her whereabouts for three years.
  • Contemplating the possibility of life without children, Joyce was 38 at the time she died.

Joyce Vincent’s death was bought to public attention by film director Carol Morley, who produced a documentary about the people that knew her.

In 2006 the Guardian reported that at her inquest, “Pathologist Dr Simon Poole told the inquest he had been unable to establish the cause of death because the remains were “largely skeletal”, but police do not regard the circumstances as suspicious.”

How could the London Metropolitan Police not regard her death as suspicious?

How could she simply die watching the television?

She had been the victim of domestic violence, why and could that have had anything to do with her death?

She had been estranged from her sisters, why and could that have had anything to do with her death?

Who were the Christmas presents that Joyce Vincent had wrapped for? What could the intended recipients of the Christmas presents have had to do with her death?

Joyce Vincent was apparently in her flat with the heating and television on when she was found. The heating, electricity and Council Tax bills would have been astronomical. Was she really in her flat for three years? Or had the flat been set up to throw police off the scent? Was this possibility investigated?

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