Double-death tragedy mother 'had refused council's help'

A woman who died leaving her disabled daughter to apparently starve to death had refused the help of social workers, a council said yesterday.

The woman, named by police yesterday as 67-year-old Stephania Wolf, is understood to have died several weeks ago.

But her 29-year-old daughter Sam, who was reportedly paralysed from the neck down, was unable to care for herself.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She was found alongside her mother at the home they shared in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, on Saturday. Their bodies were partially decomposed.

Hertfordshire County Council said it was looking into the case.

A spokeswoman said: "The situation at the moment is that they were

known to adult care services but they refused the offer of our services."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A source at the council said social services still had a duty to care for families who needed help, even if they refused it.

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Police said that initial post mortem examination results showed neither woman had suffered external injuries.

There were no suspicious circumstances, she added. Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

The council said the authority carried out an assessment of Ms Wolf's home in August 1998.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As a result, a number of ramps and rails were fitted to help her daughter. Further offers of support were also made but these were refused.

Then, in March 2006, the council offered Ms Wolf the chance for her daughter to attend a day care centre but this was also refused.

That was the last time the council was in contact with Ms Wolf and her daughter. The council is now reviewing its dealings with the family, the spokesman added.

Neighbours said Ms Wolf had cared for her daughter for many years and had recently complained that she was struggling to cope.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One said that recently she had said she was sick of people interfering but as far she could tell she had no support whatsoever.

"She doted on her daughter and did everything for her. The poor girl could not do anything for herself. She could not feed herself or anything. She needed round-the-clock care," a neighbour said.

The woman added: "When the girl was younger she would take her out in her wheelchair regularly but in recent years she became a bit of a recluse."