Residents' fury as smell from human remains lingers in their Edinburgh flats

Residents in an Edinburgh block of flats claim they are still living with a stench lingering more than two weeks on from the discovery of a woman’s body in a neighbouring flat.

By Jamie McKenzie
Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 12:30 pm

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Police confirmed that the body was found in a property in Tarvit Street, Tollcross, at about 4pm on August 16.

The woman, named locally as Elizabeth Grant and known as Liz, is thought to have lived in the third floor flat for a number of years.

Andrea Barnett has to wear a face mask when she feeds her neighbour's car

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    A forensic identification will have to be made for formal confirmation and the death is still being probed, sources have revealed, which has held up the process of releasing the flat back to its landlords.

    Neighbours say they have had to complain to property owner, Castle Rock Edinvar housing association, about the lasting smell in the common stairwell which they claim has also penetrated their homes.

    A next-door-neighbour, who did not want to be named, has been forced to move out, claiming housing association staff last week said they could only smell air fresheners.

    He also said the housing association told him they can not access the property because police need to go carry out forensics work on the ‘unexplained’ death.

    The woman was discovered dead in her flat in Tarvit Street

    Andrea Barnett, who lives on the floor below, said although some windows in the woman’s flat have been opened, the property has window sheets which are closed and the only place for the smell to escape is the letterbox.

    She said: “How long are they going to go without cleaning the flat and opening the windows?

    “I understand there is a process they have to go through but we are not getting straight answers. I am constantly having to phone Castle Rock to see what is happening.

    “I’m now starting to wake up having nose bleeds and with headaches, and I am not able to eat anything. I went out on Saturday and took my cousins out because I did not want to eat in the house.

    “I called them (Castle Rock) and spoke to the guy who visited him (the next door neighbour) and said to him, ‘I do not know how you can not smell anything.’ We are not hallucinating here. It’s like rotten fish that has been in the heat for weeks - it’s a really strong smell.”

    The 25-year-old, who has lived in the property for about seven years, said she has also been unable to have family over to visit because the smell is so intense.

    It is unclear how long the woman’s body was in the flat before being discovered but Ms Barnett said she noticed a smell in the stair up to two weeks before.

    Neighbours initially believed the smell was caused by blocked drains, or pigeons which had previously caused problems.

    The woman’s body was later found by a neighbour in possession of a spare key to her flat in the event that she became locked out of the property.

    Castle Rock Edinvar said: “We are unable to comment further or enter the property while police investigations are ongoing, but we will ensure a deep clean is carried out as soon as the keys are returned to us.”

    A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “The flat remains under police control as an investigation into the death of the flat's occupant is ongoing.”

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