Updated on 03 August 2010
The Hertfordshire mother who was found dead along with her disabled daughter in their home on Saturday had refused help from Social Services on two occasions, Channel 4 News has learnt.Hertfordshire County Council says it had offered help to the mother, locally identified as Stephanie Wolf, whose partially decomposed body was found along with that of her 29-year-old disabled daughter at their home 'Swiss Cottage' in Wheathampstead on Saturday.
"We were aware of the family but they had refused our offer of services," a spokesman for the council said.
"In August 1998, an assessment of need resulted in the provision of equipment and major adaptations to the property to provide disability access (ramps, rails etc). Following on from this, various offers of support offered by Adult Care Services were declined.
"We carried out a further assessment of Ms Wolf's needs in March 2006, and offered to provide day services and various other support which was declined."
Unconfirmed reports suggested Ms Wolf may have died several weeks ago, leaving her daughter unable to care for herself. Channel 4 News has since learnt the daughter had cerebral palsy and that the mother, who neighbours described as a "little woman" who "kept herself very private and to herself", to be in her mid- to late-60s and not 59 as previously reported.
Police enter 'Swiss Cottage' this afternoon. Photo: Channel 4 News
Kerry Goodwin, who lived next door to the Wolf's for 15 years, said: "I don't really know their names. They're very private people... We said hi when we were passing them, but they were very proud people and liked to keep themselves to themselves.
"They didn't like people getting involved in their business and it's quite a tragedy really as we could have helped if we'd known.
"She liked her lawn kept immaculate and hedge trimmed and they were the only times I saw her," Ms Goodwin said.
When asked if she knew about any involvement with social services, Ms Goodwin said: "I saw the daughter going out for day trips in the mini van but other than that, nothing really.
"As far as I know the mother always looked after the daughter really well. They went out on day trips, they always seemed like a happy couple together."
Initial results of two post mortems suggest there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths. Local police, who said they were not looking for anyone in connection with the deaths, said tests showed there were no external injuries
* PLEASE NOTE; refusing council help/failing to engage is typically local authority speak for "wouldn't do what we (the local authority) tell them to do/accept substandard care packages, care providers or equipment"