Family of tragic Wheathampstead mother and daughter pay tribute

PUBLISHED: 15:45 05 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:26 05 August 2010

Stephania and daughter Sam outside their Marford Road home

Stephania and daughter Sam outside their Marford Road home

TRIBUTES have been paid to the tragic mother and daughter found dead in their home at the weekend.

Stephania Wolf, 67, and her daughter Samantha, 29, were found by police inside their home in Marford Road, Wheathampstead, at around 2pm on Saturday after a man delivering leaflets raised the alarm.

Police are still trying to establish the exact circumstances surrounding the deaths but neighbours believe that Stephania passed away leaving Sam unable to fend for herself, possibly starving to death. It is thought that Stephania’s partially decomposed body was found in bed, with Samantha’s lying next to her wheelchair in another room.

Today Stephania’s eldest and remaining daughter, who lives in Bedfordshire, paid tribute to them.

She said: “My mum was someone who loved life – vibrant, hard-working and she loved going out.

“At aged just 21 she was known as one of the best hairdressers in her home town and very driven. As a child, I always admired my mum and wanted to be just like her. To me, she was wonderful.”

Stephania was born and raised in Poland where she had her eldest daughter with her first husband, Henryk Sosnowski.

After they separated, Stephania moved to Vienna in Austria in the late 1960s to pursue her career in hairdressing. She was planning to open her own business, but she ended up working for an upmarket hairdressing salon where, as in her home town, she was valued for her skills.

It was there she met her second husband, Englishman John Backler, and they came to the UK to start a family in the late 1970s.

They moved to Wheathampstead and had Samantha in 1981.

Samantha developed disabilities at birth, including epilepsy and heart problems and Stephania’s life became devoted to being her full-time carer.

Her other daughter, a married mother-of-two, said: “From the moment Samantha was born, mum was committed to making her as healthy as possible. She lived for Samantha and was determined to get her better.

“But I think as time went on she also became more and more determined to do this by herself, without help from anyone, family or care services. It’s tragic because it didn’t have to be like that if she was just willing to take that help.

“My family and I would just like to add that we don’t blame the care services in any way. They did so much, including fitting ramps and making it easier for Samantha to get around the house. But the care services couldn’t help any more than mum would let them.”

Recalling fond memories of her sister, she said: “Samantha was great fun as a sister. She was very intelligent, and could understand both English and Polish.

“Samantha and I had our little secrets as sisters that mum didn’t know about and she was a real character. She loved things like puzzles, which she would spend hours on, and sewing.” She added: “I will miss them both so much.”

Stephania is also survived by a sister called Krystyna in Poland and a brother called Kazik in Germany.

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