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A tragically lonely death

A woman who died alone except for her pet parrot was left undiscovered for FIVE months. The woman, named locally as Laura Keevil, 47, of Rowland Drive in Greenhill, was last seen alive before Christmas. But it wasn't until May 12 that worried neighbours finally called police after spotting thousands of flies gathering at her upstairs window. This week, the Herne Bay Times learned that alarm bells should have rung weeks before, as neighbours told how they reported her missing to the Hyde Housing Association. One shocked neighbour, who asked not to be named, said:

"Mrs Keevil always went on holiday at Christmas. But this year we didn't see her go or come back. When no windows had been opened for more than a month I called Hyde Housing Association, which manages the property. They sent a woman round who knocked on the door but there was no answer so she left. She said she didn't have a key. I called the housing association again a few weeks later because something felt badly wrong. I could see a dead parrot in its cage through the window.

The housing association sent someone round again but nothing further happened so I tried to forget it. Then I noticed swarms of flies at the upstairs window. It felt so wrong so I called the police. Two young policewomen came round. They tried the back door and it turned out that it hadn't even been locked. They went upstairs and found the body. It was taken away in a white sheet. Someone opened the upstairs window to let out the flies but the house still hasn't been fumigated."

Police spokeswoman Jane Walker confirmed officers had discovered a woman's body in the house, adding:

"She appeared to have been dead for some time and was in an advanced state of decomposition."

A spokesman for East Kent coroner Rebecca Cobb said an inquest had not yet been opened so could not confirm the dead woman was Mrs Keevil. Another neighbour said:

"The house is back on the city council's lettings list again. It was meant to be available from Monday but still hasn't been cleared. It's in a right state."

The property is advertised on the Kent Home Choice website for £89.72 a week, including a service charge of 59p. When the Times visited the property, we found the upstairs window still open and the dead parrot still visible at the bottom of its cage in the kitchen. Neighbour Roger Hinton said:

"Mrs Keevil used to live with her daughter but the daughter moved away. It is quite sad for something like this to be allowed to happen in this day and age."

A spokesman for Hyde Housing Association said:

"At this difficult time, we offer our support and condolences to Mrs Keevil's family."

HB Times 10th Jun 2011

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