A jobless gypsy is demanding a new home from the council after discovering a man died in her flat – saying her religion forbids her from living there.
Lisa Bowden has not worked in 15 years and claims £260 in benefits a week and was given a newly-decorated two-bedroom home just two months ago.
But she claims she can feel the presence of the spirit of the former tenant and says it is against her gypsy religion to live in a home where someone has died.
Bowden, 40, a former heroin addict who has four children by two different fathers, is now asking Dartford Borough Council for a three-bedroom house with garden.
She was only given the keys of her neat flat in the pretty Kent village of stone, nr Dartford, at the end of October.
She said: “When someone dies from a gypsy culture, we would burn the caravan.
“It is forbidden for us to enter somewhere where someone has died, it is not good for us.
“It doesn’t matter that the man who died here was not a gypsy. I can feel his spirit and it gives me the shivers.
“I can’t live here – I always sleep with the light on and would never stay here at night on my own.
“The council need to give me a new home – One with a garden and three bedrooms so my daughter can visit.”
At present, Bowden lives with her nine-year-old son, while her 15-year-old daughter lives with her father, Bowden’s ex-husband.
She gets £70 weekly employment and support allowance, and £60-a-week in child tax credits.
She also rakes in £80-a-month in child benefit, and her £90 weekly rent is paid for by the taxpayer.
In her taxpayer-funded pad, Bowden has a large number of expensive gadgets and furnishings, including two flat-screen televisions, a PlayStation3 console, a Nintendo Wii, a new leather sofa-bed and a new microwave, kettle and toaster from Next.
At Christmas she bought an expensive new laptop for her nine-year-old son.
When she was given the flat at the end the council – who also pay her £90-a-week rent – gave Bowden nearly £200 to redecorate and she got a new bathroom and kitchen.
Bowden, who has not worked since she was diagnosed with the lung condition CPOD in the late 1990’s, kicked her heroin habit about ten years ago, and quit smoking just three years ago.
She even called in a priest in an attempt to exorcise her flat but claims she can still ‘smell the death’ inside it.
She claims her ‘haunted’ flat is the cause of her worsening health, and was recently admitted to hospital for a chest infection.
She added: “I had such a hard time with the council about this flat.
“They made me ill, I think. The council workers had it in for me.
“I told them I didn’t want a flat where someone died, but they didn’t listen and told me either I take the flat or I end up on the street.
“A three bedroom house with a garden would be nice.
“I definitely need a garden so I can sit out and it will help my lungs – and three bedrooms so my daughter can come and visit more.”
She added: “Loads of people think we’re not educated and we’re scroungers.
“I left school at 14, but I can read, and next year I’m going to go to an adult learning centre.
“I want to be a beautician, but I can’t work at the moment because of my ill health.
“Our people don’t have the chance to get good jobs, because we all left school so young, but I want my son to have the best opportunities.
“Every day I tell him that the only way to get anywhere in life is to work hard. Hard work is key.”
Bowden, who racks up more than £12,000 tax-free in annual benefits, lived in nearby Thamesmead with a partner, before leaving him and ending up in a shelter.
Before then, she lived in Kent with in a council-owned home with her first husband, who she married aged just 16.
The previous tenant in the flat, believed to be named Peter Bushby, passed away in October aged 64.
The flat is a top-floor property in a two-storey block at the end of a quiet estate.
Dartford Borough Council declined to comment.