According to research, there are about 60 people who die alone in their homes every week. These people are often without family or friends to help them or even plan their funeral rites. The study also showed that men are two and half times more likely to die on their own compared to women. But have you heard the sad story about Joyce Vincent?
Meet Joyce Vincent, a woman who died in 2003, but her remains were found in 2006 when authorities broke into her apartment due to unpaid bills. Her corpse was severely decomposed and almost skeletal.
Who was Joyce Vincent?
Joyce Carol Vincent was born on October 19, 1965, in Hammersmith, London. Her parents were Lyris Vincent, who died in 1976 when Joyce was 11, and carpenter Lawrence Vincent, who died in 2004. Both her parents were immigrants from the island country of Grenada in the eastern Caribbean, which is about 150 kilometers north of Valenzuela. Joyce was raised by her four older sisters while having a strained relationship with their emotionally distant father. She went to Melcombe Primary School and Fulham Gilliat School for girls and left school at 16 with no qualifications.
She worked as a secretary in 1985 at OCL, in London, and transferred to C.Itoh then Law Debenture before joining Ernst & Young, where she worked in a treasury department for four years until resigning in March 2001.
Vincent’s reason for leaving the company was not known. After she left her job at Ernst & Young, she became a volunteer in a domestic abuse shelter in Haringey and had another job as a cleaner in a budget hotel. In 2001, she started to be distant from her family and friends. She ultimately cut off communications with them, and it was rumored that she was once a victim of domestic abuse but was too ashamed to report it. Vincent had a boyfriend, but no one could trace him, not even after her death.
In 2003, Vincent was brought to the hospital after she vomited blood and was diagnosed with a peptic ulcer, which may have caused her death or another speculation was an asthma attack. (Source: Alchetron)
When Did Joyce Vincent Die?
Vincent died around December 2003 in her bedsit in a housing complex above Wood Green Shopping City in north London. She was 38. Her body was not found until January 25, 2006, three years after her passing. Her death was only discovered when the bailiffs broke into her apartment to repossess it. Her neighbors did not think much of the foul odor from her decomposing body, thinking it was coming from the nearby waste bins. (Source: Alchetron)
How Did Vincent’s Death Go Unnoticed?
Half of Vincent’s rent was being paid to Metropolitan Housing Trust by benefits agencies which made them believe she was still alive. The housing officials only noticed when her rent lacked about 2,400 pounds spread throughout three years. When the authorities came to her flat, her television was on and concluded that it had been continuously playing since 2003. Her heating system was still running because her electricity was also being paid for through her automatic debit payments. When Vincent’s corpse was found, it was lying on the floor, beside a shopping bag with gifts wrapped, but no one knew who they were for. Her death was ruled to be natural causes because her door was double-locked, and there was no sign of foul play. (Source: Alchetron)
How Did Joyce Vincent’s Death Inspire Carol Moley?
In 2011, Carol Moley wrote and directed the film Dreams of a Life, which was based on the story of the late Joyce Vincent. Zawe Ashton portrayed her character. The writer-director interviewed Vincent’s friends and those who had known her to come up with this documentary film.
According to Moley, she was interested in the life of Vincent, thinking that as liked by many, no one noticed her disappearance from society. Moley wanted to make a simple impact by reminding people to be reconnected. In one of her interviews, she said that it was kind of difficult for her to locate people who knew Vincent and thought if no one cooperates with the interview, then she would pursue the film and maybe focus on other factors like the places she’s been to, her job and the like.
Fortunately, some of Vincent’s friends and even those she dated decades back agreed to be part of her documentary. All they had to say was how vibrant, smart, and the good of a person she once was. (Source: The Guardian)