Pensioner lay dead for four months in Hastings flat

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A PENSIONER lay dead in her flat for at least four months before her body was found by police.

Silvana Sanguinetti, 72, of Cornwallis Gardens, was a known recluse who purposely shut herself away from the outside world, only going shopping at night and not entertaining guests.

An inquest heard that her body was so badly decomposed it was virtually skeletal and mummified when she was found on September 30.

Dr Ian Hawley, the pathologist who carried out the postmortem, said this hampered his efforts to find the cause of death.

“There was evidence she (Mrs Sanguinetti) had been dead for months, rather than weeks,” he said.

PC David Fisher, one of the police officers who searched the pensioner’s flat, said officers tried to gain entry with the help of neighbours but were unsuccessful as they received no response from them.

Mrs Sanguinetti’s home was described as squalid and littered with rubbish in carrier bags and empty baby food bottles. She could only eat baby food because of a bowel problem, the inquest heard.

PC Fisher said: “The roof in the flat had been leaking for some time and there was a bucket in the hall which was full of dirty brown water.

“I was unable to find any relatives or friends to identify this lady. No one had seen her for four months at least. Four months would be a guess. This lady was a hermit and would not talk to anyone and would only go out at night to the supermarket.”

Reggie Jones, coroner’s officer, said there were numerous unopened letters from EDF Energy and final notice demands addressed to Mrs Sanguinetti at her flat. The pensioner, originally from Parma in Sicily, was also wearing five layers of clothing on the upper part of her body.

Howard Hopkins, who knew Mrs Sanguinetti, said he last had direct contact with her in January 2010.

He told the inquest there was a big feud within her family in Italy and the pensioner was told to leave the country, so she came to Hastings.

Mr Hopkins said: “She used to live in Bexhill and was a recluse there. Silvana kept herself to herself and would not let anyone see her.”

Coroner Alan Craze recorded an open verdict.

After the inquest local ward councillor, Godfrey Daniel, said: “This is a very sad story and it is a shame that neighbours do not pay attention to people living next to them. We should care for each other, especially at times like Christmas and the New Year. It does not take a lot to knock on the door to see if your neighbour is okay.”