Murder #17, Siobhan Kelly, Upper Norwood
Siobhan Kelly, 39, was found battered to death at her home in Upper Norwood, south London, on February 7, 2011. Police had to force entry to the flat at around 8.20pm after relatives in Ireland became concerned she had not been in contact. She was pronounced dead at the scene and a postmortem gave the cause of death as internal bleeding due to blunt force trauma. She suffered several fractured ribs, cuts to her head and bleeding and bruising to her brain. It is claimed she was stamped on, punched and beaten with a large candle and a lamp. Stephen Foad,41, had killed Kelly on the night of January 15, 2011 and her body had lain in her flat for 3 weeks. Foad was charged with murder and he eventually pleaded guilty. He was sentenced for life in prison.
When I got to Tudor Road I knew instantly which flat Siobhan Kelly had died in. Steel grilled plates covered the two windows that faced the street. A couple of bouquets of flowers also lay at the entrance to the building. I had walked from Penge East Station for some reason which was not the closest station and it had been a seemingly long walk through hilly neighbourhoods and Crystal Palace Park. So when I arrived at Tudor Road I was tired. I set up and tried different positions. The one I eventually settled on was very close to the entry to the walk of flats. It made me uncomfortable to be so close to the door as I felt I would impede anyone coming and going. I also knew that it would make others uneasy to see a photographer suddenly as they came out of their homes. My fears were unfounded as I saw not a single person during the whole hour I was there.
Later when I read the details of the case it was clear that Siobhan Kelly was a troubled and lonely individual. London it seemed to me was full of people who come and go and sometimes are eaten up by the city. The fact that Kelly had lain dead in her flat for three weeks was really troubling. I would come across the histories of lots of people like Kelly in the two years of my project, of both the victims and the guilty. After two years I came to the conclusion that though London was actually a very safe city in comparison to most cities its size, but I also came to regard London as a cruel city, a destroyer of the vulnerable. A city whose ugly side is kept far away from prying eyes.