Mother and daughter found dead in London council flat 'had not been seen by neighbours for seven months'

3 March 2023, 15:20 | Updated: 3 March 2023, 15:29

The block where the mother and daughter lived
The block where the mother and daughter lived. Picture: Google Street View

By Kit Heren

A mother and daughter who were found dead in a north London council flat had not been seen by their neighbours for seven months, according to reports.

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Zarinn Adatia, 84, and her daughter Tasneem, 48, were discovered in their flat in Barnet in November last year after attempts to carry out a gas safety check.

A devastated neighbour in the Barnet Council block said she had not seen the pair since April or March that year.

"We would still say hello to each other if we saw each other on the stairs or whatever, but the last time I remember speaking to them was around March or April last year as I had some friends around, and they called and asked us to keep the noise down a bit,” Cristin Niculae told Inside Housing.

Ms Niculae said she had raised concerns with the landlord, and was told they would be sent a letter.

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She said: "Obviously nobody knew what had happened then but how were they going to read that?

Neither of the women were known to social services or were known to have serious health conditions that could cause them to die suddenly, although Tasneem had asthma and Zarinn had diabetes. Police said they were treating the women's deaths as unexplained.

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Ms Niculae added: "If her mum had died first, Tas would have been able to do something about it. She loved her mother and did everything for her."

Barnet Homes, the council's in-house landlord, said it was liaising with authorities to work out how the Adatias had died.

Ross Houston, leader of Barnet Council, said he was "deeply shocked and saddened by the distressing circumstances of the passing and discovery of Mrs and Miss Adatia”.

Housing solicitor says Awaab Ishak's death was '100% avoidable'.

Extending his condolences to the family, he added: “Barnet Homes was the family’s landlord and their rent payments were made regularly and were up to date. They did not have any known vulnerabilities and were not known to Barnet Council’s social services.

"The deceased were discovered during a routine gas safety check, whereby Barnet Homes officers were able to obtain entry to their residence. 

“We are working with the relevant authorities to determine the circumstances around this tragedy and are committed to supporting those who have been affected.”

A spokesperson for the police said: "The deaths are being treated as unexplained. They have been investigated and the circumstances are not believed to be suspicious. A file will be prepared for the coroner.”

It comes after a woman was found after lying dead in her flat for two-and-a-half years, following the Met police wrongly reporting that she was "safe and well" and a housing association failed to fully investigate neighbours' concerns.

Sheila Seleoane, 58, was discovered in the recovery position at her "extremely tidy and well-kept" one bedroom flat years after she died, an inquest at Southwark coroners court heard last year.

Ms Seleoane had to be identified by dental records after her decomposed body was discovered in Peckham in February 2021, after her death in August 2019.