Sydney - An elderly woman lay dead in her inner city home for nearly eight years before her skeletal remains were found, an inquest heard on Thursday, in a case dubbed “the woman Sydney forgot” by Australian media.
Natalie Wood was discovered by police in July 2011, having died in early 2004. She is believed to have fallen in her bedroom and then found herself unable to get up.
Her terrace house, just metres from the city's bustling Central Station, appeared abandoned by the time she was found, with cobwebs everywhere, water damage and even a tree growing through the top windows.
Detective Senior Constable Andrew Wills told the Glebe Coroners Court there was no mattress in the house, which is estimated to be worth almost A$1 million, no television and no fridge.
While no purse or wallet was found, rings and other valuables lay untouched.
Wills said Wood, who had lived in the house since she was born in 1924, was a recluse.
“She kept to herself,” he told the inquest. “It got to a point she answered the door with a special knock.”
Neighbours told police they thought she had moved away and the house was vacant.
Wood had no will and her sister-in-law Enid Davis and four distant cousins are making a claim on her estate.
A frail Davis, whose husband - Wood's brother - died in 2009, told the coroner she last saw her from a bus window on January 30, 2004.
“There was no reason (we stopped talking) other than my husband had dementia and got very sick,” she said.
The inquest continues.