Joyce Carol Vincent

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Joyce Carol Vincent (1965–2003) was a British woman, of Caribbean and Indian descent, who died in 2003 in her bedsit flat in Wood Green, north London. Her body lay undiscovered for approximately three years,[1][2] even though neighbours noticed the smell of decomposition. She had previously been in a shelter in Haringey for victims of domestic violence. She entered the shelter some time after 2001, when she left her well-paid job at Ernst & Young for reasons of which her colleagues remain unsure.[1] She never took drugs and did not have a drinking problem. She was found fully decomposed, nothing left but a skeleton.[1]


A film about Joyce, Dreams of a Life, written and directed by Carol Morley, with Zawe Ashton playing Joyce, was shown at the BFI London Film Festival in 2011 and released on 16 December 2011.[1] Morley tracked down and interviewed people who had known Joyce. They described a beautiful, intelligent, socially active woman, "upwardly mobile" and "a high flyer", whom they assumed "was off somewhere having a better life than they were".[1] During her life she met figures such as Nelson Mandela, Ben E. King, Gil Scott-Heron, and Betty Wright, and had also been to dinner with Stevie Wonder.[1]


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