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Heart Breakfast with Ivan & Emma 6am - 10am
5 August 2010, 14:58
The mother and daughter were found by police at 2pm at their home address on Marford Road after a man delivering leaflets raised concerns for their welfare.
Stephania’s eldest daughter, who lives in Bedfordshire, has paid tribute to her mother and half-sister.
She said: “My mum was someone who loved life – vibrant, hardworking 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, who was 67, was born and brought up in Poland. Here she had her eldest daughter with her first husband, Henryk Sosnowski.
After they had separated, Stephania went to live in Vienna, 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.
She met her second husband, Englishman John Backler, in Vienna and they moved 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. John and Stephania later separated.
The 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.”
She added: “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. I will miss them both so much.”
Stephania also leaves a sister called Krystyna in Poland and a brother called Kazik in Germany.