Beautician left looking like 'acid attack victim' after untreated mould infestation ravages council flat

A BEAUTICIAN was left looking like an “acid attack victim” after she claims a mould infestation which went untreated in her council flat caused her face to balloon up.

Louise Derrick, 42, says she first noticed mould around the windows of her bedroom and living room in Wallington, South London, three years ago and reported it to Sutton Housing Partnership.


However, despite numerous alleged reports, she claims nothing was done and the mould was left to ravage her entire home and possessions turning her home into “absolute hell”.

Horrifying pictures show her face so swollen that her eyes are almost closed and the painful, red swelling has dramatically changed the shape of her entire face.

Louise was forced to quit her job as a salon manager after developing Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), which leaves her with very little mobility and constant seizures – meaning she is unable to leave her home.

She claims nurses told her that her severe reaction was to the mould, which has left her with chronic asthma, while any visitors say the smell hits them as soon as they come in her house.

Sutton Housing Partnership say they have been “been working very closely” with Louise since 2019 on reported issues and said that they have recently begun work which is set to complete this week.

But Louise says efforts to tackle the mould have only just begun last week on June 14 – which she claims was too late as the mould has already destroyed many of her possessions and left her with chronic asthma.

Louise said: "I found out I was severely allergic to the mould while trying to clean and save my furniture – my eyes and throat closed up until I couldn't see or breathe.

I couldn't see for days because my face was so swollen. But when I could it was so upsetting – I looked like someone had thrown acid in my face."

"My whole face and body burnt and blistered, even inside my eyelids and mouth, which took almost four weeks to heal and the blisters have left scars on my skin. The pain was horrific.

"I almost died, it was really scary. I had to have three injections of adrenaline in my leg to save my life.

"I couldn't see for days because my face was so swollen. But when I could it was so upsetting – I looked like someone had thrown acid in my face.

"The mould has destroyed my entire home as well. I've lost absolutely everything, even things that can't be replaced like a suitcase of my dad's things, who has recently passed away.

"I used to have a beautiful bedroom but the mould took over my whole bed and now I'm on the mouldy sofa with throws over me to try and stop me breathing too much in.

"I loved my home so it's devastating."

She was forced to give up work as a salon manager as the condition worsened and made her wheelchair-bound and it is now so bad that she is completely housebound.



She claims being trapped in the mould-ridden flat has forced her health to plummet even further, leading her to be diagnosed with chronic asthma two years ago as well as suffering severe anaphylactic reactions to the mould.

Louise now has to take oral steroids in an effort to prevent more allergic reactions, which could kill her.

Just last week, Sutton Housing Partnership began the process of treating the mouldy inside walls, ceilings and floors of Louise's flat but according to Louise they are still refusing to help replace her destroyed furniture.

The housing partnership has also allegedly rejected an application from Louise for a £200 grant to replace her mould-ridden bed, risking leaving her sleeping on the floor as they have now begun removing her ruined furniture.

Louise said: "The housing manager has sent multiple surveyors round who have all said the outside walls need repointing because the concrete is so damaged that you can push your fingers through it.

"So it's clear the mould is coming from the outside walls and I might be in the same situation again in no time – it's just not good enough.

"The contractors said I shouldn't be in here but I have nowhere to go – the temporary accommodation the housing manager offered me didn't even have a fridge and was flooded with dirty water.

What is Functional Neurological Disorder (FND)?

People with FND can experience a wide variety of symptoms including:

  • Weakness and abnormal patterns of movement (e.g. tremor, abnormal posturing of limbs, gait problems)
  • Attacks of abnormal movement/change in awareness that resemble epileptic seizures
  • Sensory problems
  • Cognitive problems
  • Visual and speech problems

Whilst the symptoms may appear similar to those seen in neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Epilepsy, and can be just as debilitating, they are not caused by structural disease of the nervous system.

Instead, they are caused by a problem with the “functioning” of the nervous system.

The structure of the body is fine, but there is a problem with how the nervous system is functioning and how the brain fails to send and receive messages correctly.

This impacts on how the body responds to different tasks such as movement control.

Source: FND Action

Steve Tucker, managing director of Sutton Housing Partnership, said: "Sutton Housing Partnership is committed to maintaining high standards of maintenance and repair across our properties and we carry out an average of 1,400 repairs every month.

“We take the health and wellbeing of our residents very seriously and we will always uphold our duty of care towards our tenants as a responsible landlord, while also ensuring we comply with the Home Standard.

“Since 2019 we have been working very closely with Miss Derrick on a range of reported repairs issues.

"We have offered several options to remedy the works needed and have made special arrangements to accommodate her needs, some of which have led to significant delays in the works being completed.

“We’re pleased that our repairs officers have been able to make significant progress on the work recently, with this phase set for completion this week.

“We will continue to work carefully and sensitively to support Miss Derrick and find solutions that meet her housing, health and wellbeing needs.”

Louise, with the help of a friend, has set up a GoFundMe page in the hopes of raising enough funds to replace her furniture destroyed by the mould.

MP for Carshalton and Wallington, Elliot Colburn, said: "I have been helping my constituent Louise since March of this year with the awful situation she is facing with Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP).

"I am disappointed in the lack of action taken by SHP to fully repair Louise's flat to a habitable standard and replace the furniture which has been damaged by mould over the years.

"I am pleased to have secured a new bed and frame for Louise's flat and I will continue to support my constituent until this situation is sorted."

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