Soap star Samantha Womack's dad found dead

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The Independent Online

The father of EastEnders actress Samantha Womack has been found dead at his seaside home.

A tearful Mrs Womack, 36, who plays feisty Ronnie Mitchell in the soap, yesterday visited the flat in Brighton, East Sussex, where the body of Noel Janes, 60, was found on Saturday.

The actress, who changed from her maiden name Janus, following her marriage in London this year to actor Mark Womack, was said to be too upset to talk today.

A Sussex Police spokesman said the death was not being treated as suspicious.

A neighbour of Mr Janes said he had found him hanged in his flat in Mimosa Court, Burstead Close, on Saturday afternoon.

He said he did not think Mr Janes, who lived alone, had suffered from depression.

Mr Womack said in a statement: "Sam is with her family in Brighton at the moment and has asked to be left alone to grieve with her family for a loved and wonderful father, son and brother.

"Please respect her privacy at this difficult time."

Neighbour, retired gas fitter Reginald Mepham, 72, said: "He was a nice, quiet fella.

"Living in flats like we do, we'd often say hello to each other and have a chat. He has lived here for years.

"We saw some coppers outside yesterday but I just shut my door. I didn't know anything about it until someone told me this morning. I'm shocked."

Born in Brighton, the actress's previous notable roles include playing Mandy Wilkins in the 1990s sitcom Game On.

Other credits include parts in Judge John Deed, Babes In The Wood and she also represented the UK in the 1991 Eurovision Song Contest.

In 2001, Mr Janes, a former businessman, was evicted from a flat in Brighton after claiming his rent was raised but his housing benefit was not.

He said: "My daughter has got her own life. I believe in dealing with these things myself. I have told her what has happened and she said she supported me in what I have been trying to do."

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "We were called by an ambulance crew at about 1.30pm on Saturday.

"The death is not being treated as suspicious. An inquest will be held in due course."

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