A wedding invitation provided the vital clue in identifying a woman who died alone at her Kensington home.
A 62-year-old woman, known to friends as Kay Shah, was found dead in Hornton Street, leaving behind no identity papers or immediate family in England to identify her.
At Westminster Coroner's Court last Wednesday, Detective Sergeant Rob Byrne of Notting Hill police station's missing persons' unit, said he used a wedding invitation that he found in her flat, dating to 1981, to track her down. He said: "The RSVP address was in South Africa, so I looked up the area on the inter-net. I called police in South Africa, and said we had found a woman's body and thought they might have clues to her identity. The officer visited the house listed as the RSVP address, and the people there said they thought it might be their friend Kalaivani Govender."
Her relatives were tracked down, including a cousin who provided DNA evidence to show that it was Ms Govender who was found dead on September 5 last year.
To add to the mystery surrounding Ms Govender's death, a post mortem, conducted by Dr Catherine Horsfield, failed to reveal exactly how she had died.
A statement from Dr Horsfield read: "The body was very decomposed when I examined it. There was no sign of any foul play or injury, but the cause of death is inconclusive."
A psychiatric report from Dr Christopher Bridgett, read out in court, revealed Ms Govender may have been suffering from frontal lobe syndrome, a condition which can show a deterioration in behaviour or personality.
It stated: "She became uncharacteristically unkempt following the death of her mother, but I've no reason to suspect that the death was anything other than by natural causes."
Summing up the case, Westminster coroner Dr Paul Knapman said: "There's nothing suspicious here, but we can't say why, when or how she died."
An open verdict was recorded.