Body lay undiscovered for months

A PENSIONER may have been left dead in her flat for up to three months, it can be revealed today.

SHOCKED neighbours were today coming to terms with the news that an Ipswich pensioner may have been dead in her flat for months.

The told The Evening Star of their shock and sadness after Valerie Buckledee, 65, was found in her Primrose Hill flat on the Chantry estate on Friday afternoon - the warmest day of the year at that time.

A neighbour had earlier contacted Ipswich Council after seeing flies inside the house. Police later forced entry and made the grim discovery.

Neighbours say she did not have friends or family and kept herself to herself. They also said she was often terrorised by local children who called her names and threw things at the house.

Nina Everest, the neighbour who first raised the concerns, said she thought Ms Buckledee could have lay undiscovered for up to three months: “I first reported her missing in January because I noticed that she had not taken her milk in and the flat at the time appeared to be empty.

“The police told me that at the time she was in hospital but when she came back I never saw her. There had not been any sign of life since January.”

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The borough, who was her landlord, also confirmed that Ms Buckledee had been admitted to hospital in January.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: "We were called on 9th Jan by cctv operators who had a report from neighbour that house was insecure. Officers attended and made house secure.

“The same officers had already dealt with the lady on 7th when she was found collapsed in Ipswich town centre. She was admitted to hospital on the 7th and kept in.

“The log reads that the officers did check with hospital and confirmed she was still on 9th Jan and on Brantham ward. They did update neighbour that she was in hospital.”

Mrs Everest added: “She was a very difficult person to get to know. She did not socialise with the rest of the neighbours to any great extent and if we did not see her we would have thought that she was just not about.

“I would not wish what happened to her on anybody. We do not know how she died or when she died.”

Henry Dickins, another neighbour, was unhappy that nobody knew she had died in the flat.

“I was very shocked,” he said. “It should not happen. She should not have been left that long, surely somebody must have known? She used to go out almost every day apparently but if she is not going out for two months or so then somebody should have done something.

“She lived on her own and I am the same, I live on my own, so it could happen to any of us.”

Helen Taylor, from Age Concern Suffolk, said: “This is a very sad story which highlights the tragic circumstances that can result when people are living very isolated lives, having little or no contact with neighbours, family or friends. Neighbours can play a key role in keeping a 'friendly eye' on older people living near them to ensure that people don't slip from choosing to live in seclusion to becoming completely isolated and at risk.”

If family, friends or neighbours are concerned about an older person, they can contact Age Concern Suffolk on 01473 257039.

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