As murder detectives comb for clues to try to discover how a man was killed in a Kettering flat, local people this afternoon were asking one question..
Just how could a body lie undiscovered in a flat surrounded by neighbours for up to six months?
The man, who has not yet been publicly identified, was found dead on boxing day in the first-floor flat in a converted factory in Wood Street.
Police believe he may have been dead since the summer. His body was only found after a leak was spotted and entry was forced.
This is shoe-factory country, and the victim had neighbours living closely on all sides.
Hundreds of people live cheek by jowl in this Victorian street that was built for workers in the leather factories that once peppered the streets of Kettering.
Woodlands Court, where the man lived, is itself in a crudely-converted factory housing a high turnover of people that may never meet their neighbours.
It’s only 12 months since 29-year-old Tairu Jallow was murdered at his house in adjacent Havelock Street.
Alis Peterson, 24, who has lived nearby for nearly two years, said: “I didn’t know him, but I don’t know the people who live in the flat next to me.
“This is a place that is affordable and near the town, which is why people live here. It’s quiet most of the time.
“You wouldn’t expect this kind of thing to happen here but I suppose nobody expects there to be a murder.”
Indecipherable graffiti is daubed on the once-grand doors to the factory and a coat of arms overhead is rusted enough to make it unfathomable.
Entrance to flat 5, where the man was found, is via an exterior staircase and a smashed window in the flat has been boarded up.
One neighbour has lived close by for 19 years. He said: “The police came round to ask if we’d seen anything in the past six months which makes you think, doesn’t it?
“I don’t know how nobody could have found him, with the summer we’ve had you would have thought there would have been a smell.
“It’s not a bad area. Its has its moments but it’s fairly quiet.
“We didn’t see or hear anything unusual.”
The terraced houses surrounding the flats have more long-term tenants, and one woman who didn’t wish to be named said: “There is a strong community here.
“We have the park just up the road and a school where our children go.
“Part of the problem is there are so many rented properties and you just can’t get to know people very well.”
Most of the flats in Woodlands Court are believed to be owned by buy-to-let landlords and can be picked up for as little as £50,000. But a lack of rental property in the north of the county means that tenants can pay about £400 per month for a basic flat.
Just a few hundreds metres away is the Loake factory, where a pair of shoes can cost almost as much in one of the firm’s London stores.
A neighbour who identified himself as Josef, said that he believed that neighbours should look out for one another.
“I came here four years ago and I have good friends but they’re people from Poland. Nobody from around here really mixes with people from Poland, even if they live next door to one another.
“People move in and out of here so often that you could have new neighbours every couple of months.
“The first people to notice if there was something wrong with me would be the people I work with and I hope they’d come to my flat to find me.
“Whoever that man was who died, nobody deserves that.”
Officers have appealed for anyone who saw anyone coming or going to the flat over the past few months to contact them.
They can call police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.