FOR three days, students Kid Wu, 22, and Stella Pan, 21, did not know they were living with a corpse.
They had detected a foul smell coming from their flatmate Jiang Ting's room.
But they dismissed the odour as they thought it was rotting food.
Unknown to them, Miss Jiang, 22, a Chinese national, had been dead for a few days.
It was not until 7 Jun that the gruesome discovery was made, after Mr Wu and Miss Pan had tried to contact Miss Jiang to get her to pay her share of the utilities bill.
Speaking to The New Paper in their rented three-room flat in Kallang, Mr Wu said: 'Although we have been flatmates for a few months, we seldom talk to each other, except when we need to pay the bills.
'Jiang Ting came across as an introvert. When she came home from classes, she went straight to her room and shut the door.
'She sometimes bought food and ate in her room. So when we detected the stench, we thought it was due to rotting food. After all, food decomposes easily in hot weather.'
Miss Pan said Miss Jiang, a Hunan native, was studying for an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) diploma in a private school and was a friend of another of their flatmates.
This other flatmate has gone to China to visit her family.
Miss Pan said: 'Jiang Ting was introduced to our landlord by our flatmate. She decided to move in after seeing the place and she didn't mind staying in the utility room.
'I always thought the room was too small. After placing a bed and a desk there, there's hardly space to move around.'
She added that it was normal for her and Mr Wu to pay the rental and utilities first, before claiming Miss Jiang's share from her.
Mr Wu said: 'In the last few days, we tried calling Jiang Ting (on the phone) several times, but she never answered.
'When we called her from inside the flat, we could hear her handphone ringing in her room, but we never gave it serious thought.'
He added that when he last saw Miss Jiang alive, she did not appear to be in discomfort or pain.
Then, around 10pm on 7 Jun, MrWu was washing dishes in the kitchen when he heard Miss Jiang's handphone ringing in her room.
An uneasy feeling hit him and he and Miss Pan decided to probe further.
Pointing to the room, which is in the kitchen, Miss Pan said: 'We had to force open the door as it was locked from inside.
'As soon as we opened the door, a swarm of flies flew out and we saw Jiang Ting's decomposed legs.
'We knew she was dead and called the police immediately as we didn't want to see the rest of her corpse.'
By the time Miss Jiang's body was removed, the stench had permeated the kitchen in full force.
Mr Wu said: 'It was as if the place reeked of salted fish.'
To reduce the stench, Miss Pan and Mr Wu even burnt some joss sticks outside Miss Jiang's room.
A police spokesman said Miss Jiang's body remains in the mortuary as her family has not arrived in Singapore yet.
He added that the police are treating the case as an unnatural death.
While Mr Wu claimed the police found some slimming pills in Miss Jiang's room, he and Miss Pan said they did not know if the plump woman was bothered by her weight.
Miss Pan said: 'We seldom had conversations with her and she never told us if her weight affected her.'
But Miss Hui An Nong, who attends the same church as Miss Jiang, told Lianhe Wanbao that the latter had contracted dengue fever previously.
She said: 'When I couldn't contact her last week, I thought she could have been bitten by the Aedes mosquito again.'
Miss Hui, who identified her friend's body, told Lianhe Wanbao that Miss Jiang, who would have graduated in two years' time, had completed her secondary education in Singapore after arriving here in 2002.
Miss Jiang's mother, who also came here as a study mama, decided to return to China in 2006 so her daughter could learn to be independent, Miss Hui said.
When contacted, Miss Jiang's landlord, Mr Jiang Zhebing, an accountant, said he had twice hired contractors to clean up her room.
He said he did not know Miss Jiang well, adding that he had already told her family in China about the tragedy.