Police launch murder probe after elderly woman dies jumping out of window during house fire

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3 min read
Police have cordoned off the scene.
Police have cordoned off the scene in Balsall Heath, Birmingham.

Police have launched a murder investigation after an elderly woman died after jumping out of a window to escape a house fire at her home.

The 83-year-old victim plummeted 20ft from the top-floor window at her home in Lapworth Grove, Balsall Heath, in Birmingham at 9.30am on Sunday.

Medics rushed her to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she died as a result of her injuries.

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

Read: Mechanic who killed vandal by pinning down his neck during citizen’s arrest is jailed for three years

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.

The window at Lapworth Grove, Balsall Heath, Birmingham.
The window of the house in Lapworth Grove, 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).

Floral tribute at the scene on Lapworth Grove, Balsall Heath, Birmingham.
Floral tribute at the scene on Lapworth Grove, Balsall Heath, Birmingham.

“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.

“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.”

Watch: Walthamstow murder: Teenager arrested on suspicion of fatal stabbing

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

One neighbour said they heard screams as the property burned, saying: “I was hanging the washing out and thought someone’s TV was on because I could hear a commotion and shouting.

Police have launched a murder investigation after an elderly woman died after jumping out of a window to escape an arson attack on her home.
Police at the scene in Balsall Heath, Birmingham.

“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.”

Read more:

Police rescue two dogs left locked in hot car while owners shopped

'Get out of my pub!': Landlord tells Starmer to leave during Bath walkabout

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

Watch: Northern Ireland: Cars set on fire in Newtonabbey spark fears of further troubles