Over the last week or so the furore around the death of Joyce Vincent – the woman who was found dead in a flat in Wood Green and who had been dead for two years – has swirled around me. As I listened to each piece of information from whatever source I became more and more concerned as there were so few answers that actually answered anything.
Following my request to the local Police Commander to open a fresh criminal investigation, I spoke to the police the same day to follow up. They are not opening a fresh investigation – but they were re-visiting the investigation and conclusions they had reached first time round when the body was found. They wanted to ensure that they still ‘felt comfortable’ with what they had done at the time. And basically – they were pretty emphatic that there was no sign of foul play – that the Coroner had found no injuries etc. Although how you find injuries on someone who has been dead for two or so years is a mystery to me. Anyway – no further investigation was believed to be necessary.
I have had responses to my enquiries both to the local Council Chief Exec and Metropolitan Housing Trust. The Council doesn’t appear to feel it has any particular remit in this and the Housing Association says that it had only a caretaking responsibility in terms of the flat – i.e. normal caretaker responsibilities but no support package. They were facilitating ‘independent’ living.
At least the Head of Metropolitan Housing has suggested that we meet Monday week – and I am anxious to meet with him. Not pointing fingers – but it is inconceivable to me that you can have a tenant with no contact for three years – particularly if they have been housed following leaving a women’s refuge. I am trying to get a meeting with the Head of Women’s’ Aid too – because surely anyone leaving a refuge is vulnerable and needs an eye to be kept on them? So many questions still outstanding.
It may not be foul play that ended Ms Vincent’s life – but it is an indictment of us as a society and our so called safety-net that she fell through and nobody noticed or seemed to care. The media furore may die down – but I will continue to pursue these issues until I am reassured that no vulnerable person leaves a refuge without some follow-up mechanism to simply check she is alright, especially when there is rent unpaid for a long period of time giving a clue that something may be up.
A Labour leaflet came my way from the trio of Labour candidates in Highgate Ward. It made me smile really. They are pictured smiling in front of Blanche Nevile school – but it is Labour who are currently threatening it with closure! No mention of this in the leaflet either! I wonder what people worried about the school’s future will make of that photo?