Elderly woman who died in suspected arson attack is named

Forensics teams are continuing to investigate a fatal house fire in Unthank Road in Norwich.

Forensics teams are continuing to investigate a fatal house fire in Unthank Road in Norwich. - Credit: Archant

The elderly victim of a suspected arson attack has been named as Vera Croghan.

Mrs Croghan, 89, was found dead in her home on Unthank Road, Norwich, after four teams of firefighters were called to the blaze at 6.40am on Friday, December 11.

Norfolk Police officers were called to help the fire crews around 7am but she was discovered inside.

A police spokesperson said the death is being treated as unexplained, following a post mortem examination, but added the force was investigating the incident as suspected arson.

Det Insp Chris Burgess said: "We are still investigating the circumstances leading up to the incident to establish what happened in relation to the death but, at this early stage, we believe this to be an isolated incident.

"We would appeal for anyone with dashcam footage in and around the vicinity of Unthank Rd between 11pm on Thursday, December 10 and 7am on Friday, December 11 to come forward.”

A man in his late teens, thought to be known to the victim was arrested on December 11 and taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre,

He has since been detained under the Mental Health Act and remains under investigation.  

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Police forensic teams and fire investigators were seen going and in and out of the Edwardian house over the weekend and several police vans remained parked outside the property.

A cordon remains in place around the house while enquiries continue.

Noel Course, from Wreningham, who is a long-term friend of Mrs Croghan, paid tribute to her and said: "She was just such a lovely lady. I had only spoken to her yesterday and she was just fine then, although she said she was getting quite forgetful - I do hope that isn't what caused the fire.

"We had only recently exchanged Christmas cards. She was very well liked and had a son and a daughter, so it is terribly sad."

Anyone with information should contact DI Chris Burgess in the Joint Major Investigation Team on 101 quoting reference CAD 55 of Friday, December 11.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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