United Kingdom

Arson attack: Police launch murder probe after woman, 83, falls from window of burning home

Police have launched a murder investigation after an 83-year-old woman plummeted 20ft to her death from a top-floor window to escape a suspected arson attack. 

The victim 'screamed for dear life' before jumping from the window after her home in Balsall Heath, Birmingham was allegedly torched before 9.30am yesterday. She was rushed to hospital but later died of her injuries. 

A 52-year-old man, who was also inside the property, is being treated in hospital after suffering serious burns.

West Midlands Police have arrested a 46-year-old man on suspicion of murder.

Detective Inspector Wes Martin, of the force's homicide team, said: 'This is a really tragic case, where a woman has sadly died after her own home, a place that should be safe, was set on fire.

Emergency services attended the scene of the incident in Balsall Heath, Birmingham

'Our thoughts remain with her family at this time and they are being supported by specialist officers.

'A man has been arrested, and at this time we are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.'

A force spokesperson said: 'Detectives have launched a murder investigation after an elderly woman suffered fatal injuries following a house fire in Balsall Heath yesterday (18 April).

'The 83-year-old woman, who was taken to hospital after jumping from a window to escape the fire on Lapworth Grove just before 9.30am, sadly died as a result of her injuries last night.

'A man, aged 52 who was also taken to hospital, is receiving treatment for burns. His injuries are serious.

'The house on Lapworth Grove has been cordoned off to allow officers and fire service colleagues to conduct a full and thorough forensic investigation of the scene.

The fire dog, Kai, was brought in to help to trace the seat of the fire and any accelerants used

'This tragic incident is being treated as a murder and a 46-year-old man, has now been arrested on suspicion of murder.

'He is currently in police custody and will be questioned by detectives in due course.'

Witnesses say they heard the elderly woman 'screaming for dear life' as the property became engulfed in flames.

One neighbour said: 'I was hanging the washing out and thought someone's TV was on because I could hear a commotion and shouting.

'It sounded like someone was screaming for dear life. When I heard sirens and saw smoke coming from the house I knew something awful had happened.

'I didn't know the woman who lived at the house but another neighbour said they believed a man lived there with his old mum.

The victim was heard 'screaming for dear life' before she jumped from the window after her home in Balsall Heath, Birmingham was torched before 9.30am yesterday

'It's appalling to think that someone has tried to burn them to death in their own home. What kind of a person would do that?'

Rescue teams including two ambulances, paramedics and an air ambulance scrambled to the scene within minutes of neighbours dialling 999.

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson said: 'We were called to reports of a property fire on Lapworth Grove at 9.27am on Sunday.

'Two ambulances, two paramedic officers and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford attended the scene.

'On arrival we discovered two patients, a man and a woman.

'The woman was found to have suffered serious injuries and received specialist trauma care before being taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital by land ambulance.

'The doctor from the air ambulance travelled with the patient to help continue treatment en route to hospital.

'The man was treated for serious injuries before being taken to the same hospital, also by land ambulance.'

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