A WOMAN who died alone with her cats and was found days to weeks later was finally laid to rest more than a year later.

Diane Robins died at age 82 in her home in Stanmore in October 2021. Ms Robins, of Fox Lane, was believed to have been dead for some time before the police found her.

With no known friends or family, a neighbour battled to give the woman who loved her cats a dignified send-off.

Questions have been raised about the level of care given to Ms Robins in the weeks running up to her death.

According to one neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, 15 cats were found dead inside the property. The individual says he spent more than a year and a half calling the city council, social services and the police for help before Ms Robins died.

He added that the police visited on two occasions but Ms Robins shouted from inside and they never went in.

READ MORE: Body of 82-year-old woman found in Stanmore home

The funeral was attended by the Chronicle and three others on Wednesday, January 11 at Wessex Vale Crematorium in Hedge End.

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Roberta Buhagiar and Dee O’Neill, from Hedge End, never knew Ms Robins but went to the service to pay their respects after the details were shared on Facebook .

Roberta, 45, said: “The history behind it is awful. No one should be left in that situation. She died on her own and she shouldn’t be on her own today. Her story really touched me.”

Dee, 59, said: “We came out of respect as it’s so sad. We as a society have a duty of care to look after one another.”

Emily Williams lived opposite Ms Robins in Wolfe Close but never knew her. The Stanmore resident recalled Ms Robins moving into the council flat about 15 years before she died.

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Emily, 46, cried during the funeral. She said: “What upsets me is she probably was so lonely. Her story impacted me on such a deep level and I thought coming here was the least I could do.

“She has been failed monumentally by so many different agencies. If one thing comes from this I hope it’s that it never happens again. I feel so much better for coming to the funeral and getting that closure.”

Ms Williams took in a stray cat in February 2022 which is believed to be one of Ms Robins’ based on old photos.

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She added: “It makes me so happy to know I’m doing something for her and I’ve never loved a cat more.”

The anonymous neighbour who set up the funeral with Wessex Funeral Services was unable to attend due to “an emergency” but collected the flowers to lay outside Ms Robins’ home in Fox Lane.

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He said: “I wish we could have done more. Both me and my wife, and Emily were trying non-stop to get people to help Ms Robins.

“I know we and Emily are haunted by this whole situation. I really hope serious lessons will be learnt from this and it can never be allowed to happen again. Especially in social housing where the council have a duty of care to both their tenants and the conditions of a property. They have failed Ms Robins throughout. And they know this too, they put their heads down and say nothing.

“This is a reminder why it is so important to check on the vulnerable and elderly in our community. Nobody should be left to die alone. No matter what or if you know your neighbours, if something doesn't look right, you must do your bit to help. Don't just leave it or expect others to act. May Mrs Robins rest in peace with her beloved cats.”

Messages on the flowers include: "Ms Robins, may you rest in eternal peace with all of your cats in heaven. God Bless you always."

And "Ms Robins, you will be remembered always. Your love for your cats kept you strong, Rest in Peace".

Winchester City and Hampshire County Council have both been contacted for comment.

The service was led by funeral director Graham Deacon, beginning with the song Candle in the Wind by Elton John Mr Deacon wanted to give the Stanmore resident a “dignified commemoration” from what little information he had.

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Before playing the song Memories from the musical Cats in tribute to Ms Robins and her beloved pets, Mr Deacon said: “We’re here to celebrate Diane’s life and give her the send off she deserves. We want to express to Diane that she was loved. Recent events tarnished the impact she could have had but we want to keep the honour and relationship we had with her alive.”

An inquest is yet to take place.