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'The woman Sydney forgot' lay dead at home for years

An elderly woman lay dead in her inner city home in Sydney for nearly eight years before her skeletal remains were found, an inquest heard yesterday.

The media has dubbed the case "the woman Sydney forgot".

Ms Natalie Wood was discovered by the police in 2011, having died in 2004. She is believed to have fallen in her bedroom and was unable to get up. The inquest into her death started yesterday.

Ms Wood's terrace house, metres from the city's Central Station, appeared abandoned when she was found, with cobwebs, water damage and even a tree growing through the top windows.

Detective Senior Constable Andrew Wills told the Glebe Coroners Court there was no mattress in the house, which is estimated to be worth almost A$1 million (S$1.1 million), no television and no fridge, AFP reported.

While no purse or wallet was found, rings and other valuables lay untouched.

Senior Constable Wills said Ms Wood, who had lived in the house since she was born in 1924, was a recluse.

"She kept to herself," he told the inquest. "It got to a point she answered the door with a special knock."

Neighbours told the police they thought she had moved away and the house was vacant.

She had no will, and her sister-in-law Enid Davis and four distant cousins are making a claim on her estate. Ms Davis told the coroner she last saw her from a bus window in 2004.

The inquest continues.