No charges over woman’s unexplained death

A policeman stands on guard outside the flats where the woman died
A policeman stands on guard outside the flats where the woman died

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TWO men who were arrested on suspicion of murder after the death of a woman in a notorious block of flats have been released without charge.

The woman was found dead in a flat in Norfolk Crescent, on Seafront, Hayling Island, on Thursday night.

A post-mortem examination carried out on the woman, who is believed to be in her 30s, has proved inconclusive.

But police say it has ruled out murder and the two men, aged 39 and 42, from Hayling Island, have been released.

Further tests will now be carried out to establish what caused the woman’s death.

Chief Inspector Steve Baxter, district commander for the area, said: ‘Hayling Island is a safe and largely peaceful area, so I fully understand that a death like this will have shocked the community.

‘I would like to reassure people though that a prompt and full investigation is taking place.

‘Detectives from the force’s Major Crime Department are working alongside local officers to establish the exact circumstances around this woman’s death.

‘Officers from the Hayling Island Safer Neighbourhoods Team will be on patrol over the weekend so that they can meet with the community, answer as many questions as they can and provide reassurance.’

The post-mortem was carried out late yesterday afternoon at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

Residents of the once-grand Regency property say the victim was a homeless woman who had long-term, serious problems with alcohol and would drift between the flats sleeping on people’s sofas.

She had been in the area for around 18 months.

Julian Clokie, the owner of five of the 10 properties which make up the crescent, said she was well known to his tenants.

He said: ‘She was a sort of waif and she would sofa surf between the flats.

‘I think she found life pretty tough

‘She could be nice, she was always pleasant to me.

‘It is a very bad end to a life. How could you look at it any other way?’

Brian Kelly, 61, who lives in the flats, said he met the victim several times. ‘She seemed a pleasant girl but I can’t say I’m surprised.

‘Living round here we have to put up with a lot of drunkenness and fighting and everything else.

‘There are some nice people here but we have to put up with a lot.’

The run-down row of 10 five-storey properties which make up Norfolk Crescent was the scene of tragedy in 2004 when two men died when a blaze ripped through their flat.

No-one was ever charged in connection with their deaths in a flat owned at the time by notorious landlord Christopher Mincham.

In March, someone broke in and torched a storeroom of one of the blocks.

No one was hurt.