81-year-old woman stuck in flat with “abusive” neighbour and home broken into

An 81-year-old disabled woman with severe asthma claims she is stuck in her second floor flat with an “abusive” neighbour.

Gwendoline McCalla is a charity volunteer and has lived in her flat in Elgar Street, Rotherhithe, since 1991.

She has been asking her housing association, Southern Housing, to move her for two years after having two serious falls which left her needing to use a mobility scooter which she says does not fit in the property.

She said: “I’m desperate. My flat doesn’t fit my mobility scooter and I live on the second floor with no lift.

“I struggle getting up the stairs so I barely get out and I’m getting no help whatsoever.”

Gwendoline McCalla (Picture: Gwendoline McCalla)

She claims both falls were caused by faults left unattended by Southern Housing, including broken lights that caused her to fall in the dark.

She said: “I’ve been so badly traumatised and left disabled from falling. I still haven’t had an apology – I’ve been asking for two years since I fell.”

Ms McCalla took Southern Housing to court over the incident. A spokesman from the housing association said “a settlement was made outside of court”. 

Now she says Southern Housing is refusing to move her from the property as “punishment.”

Ms McCalla’s flat was also broken into on October 27.

She said: “I came home and someone had smashed the glass on my cabinet to smithereens, riffled through my freezer and stole my meat.

“I think they were looking for money but couldn’t find any.”

Ms McCalla has been asking to move out of her home in Elgar Street for two years (Picture: Google Street View)

A spokeswoman from the Met said: “Officers attended the scene and reassured the victim whilst providing crime prevention advice.

“There were no arrests due to no pursuable leads, the case was closed due to insufficient evidence.”

Ms McCalla, who lives alone, said since the break-in she is scared to leave her flat.

She also claimed someone who lives nearby is being “abusive”, which adds to her fear of leaving the property.

She said: “This person waits for me to come out and as soon as I step outside they start swearing and shouting at me.

“They call me filthy names because they want me out the block – I think they think I grassed on them or something.

“I have depression, I don’t want to become a recluse – my doctors told me I can’t shut myself out.”

A spokesman from Southern Housing said: “We’re keen to support Ms McCalla with the matters she’s raised and are sorry she feels let down by us.

“We’ve attempted to call Ms McCalla several times and have been unable to make contact so far.

“Our Housing Officer is due to visit this week to discuss her housing options.

“We were unaware of Ms McCalla’s allegations of stalking, but take reports of anti social behaviour extremely seriously and will take appropriate action.”

Pictured top: Gwendoline McCalla believes she is being punished by her housing association for taking them to court (Picture: Gwendoline McCalla)

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