The body of Joyce Vincent which was in a predominantly skeletal state was taken from the property and examined at postmortem to try to ascertain a cause of death. It was already clear she had passed away in 2003 but the exact date is unknown.
At the inquest at Hornsey Police Station, North London, shortly following the postmortem, Vincent's family including her sisters had been in attendance according to contemporaneous newspaper reports. They claimed that Vincent had been engaged but unmarried and that they had lost contact with her after she moved into the bedsit.
A police officer who was called to the scene at the bedsit reported a foul "strong smell" akin to a dead body emanating from the residence. Detective Inspector Michael Ainslie said:
It's very sad no one raised the alarm.
A spokesperson from the Metropolitan Housing Trust whose bailiffs were called out to Vincent's flat said that due to housing benefits covering the costs of rent for some period after Vincent's death, arrears had not been realised until much later. It was also said by the spokesperson that no concerns were raised by neighbours or visitors to the housing estate where Vincent's bedsit lies at any time during the three years between death and discovery of the body.
The caretaker of the building of which Vincent's bedsit formed a part, Kevin Mann described the scene at the bedsit:
She's looked like she'd just come back from shopping. I live below and never noticed the smell. People keep themselves to themselves in this block.
A neighbour, Mickel Dobbs, whose home was next door to Vincent's described:
[There was a] foul [smell]. Every time I opened my window I would see strange little black insects crawling through.
Another neighbour, Celia Cassidy said:
I am totally shocked. Nobody knew anything at all.
Ngosi Tobin, also a neighbour, said of the tragic event:
It's terrible. In other countries people know their neighbours but not here. It is easy to see how it would happen. Poor woman.
The Deputy Coroner Andrew Walker returned an open verdict and paid his tributes:
I offer my deepest sympathies to members of the family.
In 2011, English film director Carol Morley wrote and directed a docudrama film focussing on the life and death of Vincent called 'Dreams Of A Life'. This was released in December 2011. The film switches between reconstructed scenes of Vincent's life and the discovery of Vincent's body with the dramatic recreation of the supposed forensic examination of the scene in the bedsit, shrouded in dust and cobwebs. The reconstructions are interspersed with interviews with friends and acquaintances of Vincent who were contacted via an appeal that Morley set up on a specially dedicated website ahead of the production of the film. An advertisement was also put out asking people if they knew Joyce Vincent and asking them to phone Morley.
In 'Dreams Of A Life', Vincent is played by actress Zawe Ashton while her childhood days are played by Alix Luka-Cain. John Cornell and Neelam Bakshi play the parts of Vincent's father and mother respectively. Frances Cooper and Sophia Leonie play two of Vincent's sisters.