BURNED ALIVE; Horrific Murder of Woman in Her Flat Just Hours after She Took Grandchildren to School

By Demetriou, Danielle; Akwagyriam, Alexis | The Evening Standard (London, England), March 7, 2003 | Go to article overview

BURNED ALIVE; Horrific Murder of Woman in Her Flat Just Hours after She Took Grandchildren to School


Demetriou, Danielle, Akwagyriam, Alexis, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: DANIELLE DEMETRIOU;ALEXIS AKWAGYRIAM

A WOMAN of 82 has been burned alive in her flat by an intruder.

It happened hours after she had taken her two grandchildren to school.

The devastated family of the woman were in shock today at the "senseless nature" of her murder.

The body of Victoria Adu-Mensah was found after firefighters arrived at her flat on the Hertford Estate in Brixton.

They thought they were dealing with an ordinary house fire and on making the discovery immediately called in police who launched a murder hunt.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The victim and her family are law-abiding citizens and there appears to be no clear motive." He added: "We really don't know what happened at this stage. We are not sure if someone may have come to visit her. This will be subject to investigation.

"We are treating her death as murder and it is believed she had been set alight and her ground floor flat subject to arson."

Police are now looking for witnesses who saw Mrs Adu-Mensah taking her grandchildren on their 200-yard journey to their school on Loughborough Road around 8.45am yesterday. And they are trying to find anyone who was seen entering her flat before 9.43am when the fire brigade was alerted to smoke billowing from the windows.

This morning three officers stood guard outside the gutted flat. Mrs Adu-Mensah lived their with her daughter, her two grandchildren and son-in-law. They were not at home at the time of the blaze.

Neighbour John Forde, 55, a bus driver, said: "I saw smoke billowing past my kitchen window just before I was about to set off for work.

"I left home and saw a man trying to break into the flat and there were four or five fire engines. I didn't know her well, but she was always friendly and polite and we'd often have a quick chat. I can't believe that somebody could do this to her. …

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