Joyce Vincent was a British national whose death remained unnoticed for more than 2 years. She shot to fame after her death, owing to the mystery surrounding it. While she was alive, Vincent led an ordinary life, without much connection with family or friends. Vincent’s mother passed away when she was a child. She had a strained relation with her father and was raised by her older sisters. Although Vincent joined several schools, she left studies without acquiring any qualification. Later, she worked with prestigious firms such as the ‘Ernst & Young.’ She left her job abruptly, without stating any reasons. It is thought that Joyce Vincent was in an abusive relationship at the time, which prompted her to cut off all ties with her family and friends. After quitting her job, Vincent moved to a shelter for victims of domestic abuse. She suffered from asthma and peptic ulcer. Either of these is supposed to have caused her death. Although Vincent died due to natural causes, the fact that the death remained unnoticed for 2 years was baffling. The apartment where Vincent stayed was owned by the ‘Metropolitan Housing Trust.’ A part of her house rent was paid by benefit agencies, which led the ‘Trust’ authorities to assume that she was alive. When the remaining half of the rent remained unpaid for quite some time, they proceeded to repossess the flat. On entering the apartment, they found the decomposed body of Vincent. Her death became the talk of the town, as it was hard to believe that no one had bothered to check on her during this entire period. Her story has inspired filmmakers and musicians.
Childhood & Early Life
Joyce Carol Vincent was born on October 19, 1965, in Hammersmith, London. Her father, Lawrence, was a carpenter. Vincent’s parents had emigrated from Grenada to settle in London. Vincent was of Dougla descent. Her father had African origins, while her mother was of Indian descent. Joyce Vincent was the youngest of the five daughters of her parents.
When Vincent was 11 years old, her mother expired. She was raised by her elder sisters. She had strained relations with her father. Vincent initially attended the ‘Melcombe Primary School.’ Later, she joined the ‘Fulham Gilliatt School for Girls.’ At the age of 16, Vincent quit studies without acquiring any qualification.
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Career & Personal Life
In the 1980s, Joyce Vincent moved to London. She had a charming personality and made a lot of friends. Vincent met several famous people, such as Nelson Mandela, Betty Wright, and Stevie Wonder.
In 1985, Vincent started working as a secretary at the shipping company, ‘Overseas Containers Limited.’ Later, she worked with the Japanese company ‘Itochu Corporation’ and also with the investment company ‘The Law Debenture Corporation.' Vincent worked in the treasury department of the renowned professional services firm ‘Ernst & Young’ for 4 years.
In 2001, Joyce Vincent quit her job at ‘Ernst & Young.’ She did not give any reasons for her sudden decision. Her colleagues were surprised about the news. There were many rumors regarding her exit. Some thought that she had got another job, while others thought she had plans to travel. To this day, no one knows the actual reason behind her decision.
It is believed that Vincent was in an abusive relationship. Shortly after quitting her job, she moved to a shelter for victims of domestic abuse. She also worked as a cleaner at a budget hotel. Vincent never returned phone calls and continued to move from place to place. She gradually alienated herself from the world.
In February 2003, Vincent moved to a bedsit above the ‘Wood Green Shopping City’ in London. It was owned by the ‘Metropolitan Housing Trust’ and was aimed at providing housing facilities to victims of domestic abuse. It was a single-room apartment, quite common in the UK. In November 2003, Vincent vomited blood, and was admitted to the ‘North Middlesex Hospital.’ She received treatment for peptic ulcer.
Joyce Vincent breathed her last in December 2003. She suffered from asthma and peptic ulcer. It is believed that she died from complications due to either of these diseases. Her corpse was discovered from the flat on January 25, 2006. It created uproar in the media, as how the death had remained unnoticed for more than 2 years was a mystery.
Non-payment of rent was the factor that had led to the discovery of Vincent’s body. Half of the rent of her flat was paid by benefit agencies, which led the officials to believe that she was alive. When the remaining part of the rent was unpaid for over 2 years, the officials took measures to repossess the flat. When they forcibly entered her room, they found the decomposed body of Joyce Vincent. She was identified from her dental records.
Vincent’s body was surrounded by shopping bags and packed Christmas gifts. Although the body had given off a foul odor, neighbors had attributed it to the dustbins nearby. The TV was on, but nobody had questioned the constant noise. There was no sign of foul play or a break-in.
The story of Joyce Vincent inspired filmmaker Carol Morley to make the documentary movie named ‘Dreams of a Life.’ She interviewed many of Vincent’s former friends and colleagues. According to them, Vincent had always appeared to be cheerful and confident. It was a shock to them that Joyce Vincent had had an untimely death and that her disappearance had not mattered to anyone for almost 3 years.
After hearing Vincent's story, musician Alex Marshall wrote a song about her life. The song was initially titled ‘Miss Vincent,’ but the band eventually changed the title to ‘No One Knew’ and used the song's original title to name the band instead.