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'Woman Sydney Forgot' Lay Dead For Eight Years
The tragic case of a woman who died in her city centre home but lay undisovered for up to eight years has caused much soul searching in Sydney, Australia.
Natalie Wood has been described as "the woman Sydney forgot" after her skeletal remains were discovered in an upstairs bedroom by police in July 2011.
She was found just before what would have been her 87th birthday.
Now an inquest into her death has been hearing details about how the former war bride and seamstress became isolated from family, neighbours and society.
Mrs Wood's sister-in-law, Enid May Davis, told the inquest she had no hobbies "except watching television" and would fill her days walking to the shops or down to Sydney's harbour.
Mrs Davis also said Mrs Wood did not have a fridge after her previous one had rusted.
The last time she saw Mrs Wood in person was on January 3, 2003.
It was also revealed to the court that Mrs Wood had a brain tumour.
The Davis family was alerted by medical officials when Mrs Wood was hospitalised in November 2003.
Mrs Davis said they had no time to visit her or make contact.
"I had no time. My husband (who had dementia) was in 24/7 care," she said.
They never spoke again and Mrs Davis told police she saw Mrs Wood for the last time from a bus window on January 30, 2004.
Detective Senior Constable Andrew Wills told the Glebe Coroners Court: "She kept to herself.
"It got to a point she answered the door with a special knock."
Mr Wills also said there was no mattress found in the house, which has been estimated to be worth around £530,000.
Neither did police find a TV in the building, a purse or wallet.
However, rings and other valuables were not touched and there were cobwebs and dust everywhere, Mr Wills said.
Police have struggled to work out how she died, given the length of time the body was left, but think she probably slipped over and could not get back up.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald Mrs Wood had no will, no children, and her husband and parents were long dead.
Her sister-in-law and a number of cousins are believed to be staking claim to her estate.
Utility companies and the local council failed to report something was amiss, despite having unpaid bills.
Her bank and the agency paying her pension also failed to alert police despite years without any withdrawals.
It meant no-one looked for Mrs Wood or enquired about her well-being.
According to the newspaper just two people attended her funeral, one of them was Detective Senior Constable Wills.
A small plaque where her ashes are laid says simply ''Natalie Jean Wood ? Loved and remembered.''
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