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Fatal Finsbury Park house fire ‘started deliberately’ police believe

Beatrice Yankson pronounced dead by firefighters who broke down the door to get into her house

28 October, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

A HOUSE fire that killed a mother is believed to have been “started deliberately” police have said.

A murder investigation was launched this week after a blaze in a four-storey housing block in Finsbury Park.

Beatrice Yankson, 59, was pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday after firefighters, wearing special breathing apparatus, broke down the door to her house in the Andover Estate.

A man in his 30s, believed to be Ms Yankson’s son, was rushed to hospital where he remains in a critical condition.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Considine said: “We believe this fire was started deliberately which is why it is being investigated as a murder.

“Our thoughts are with Beatrice’s family, and we are working hard to understand the series of events which led to her death.”

A post-mortem examination which took place on Tuesday, 29 October, established cause of death to be burns and inhalation of fire and fumes.

Neighbours and friends paid tribute to Ms Yankson as a “friendly” woman who had lived on the estate for more than 20 years.

Mohammed Nazari, who has lived in the Andover for more than 20 years, said of Beatrice: “I knew her. We would say hello and talk for 20 minutes or maybe an hour. She was a very friendly woman. She has lived here for as long as I have.”

One neighbour said he heard “screaming and shouting” outside. A man was seen at the window as smoke poured out behind and people were yelling at him to jump out, Mr Nazari added.

“Men started trying to break down the door but they couldn’t do it,” Mr Nazari said.

Smoke seeped out into the hallway as well and into neighbours’ homes.

A mother who lives next door said she was “shocked” when she saw the smoke coming into her home. Her 18-year-old son was asleep at the time.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “I was running to my son. I was yelling at him to wake up and get out.”

She added: “I feel so sad for my neighbour. She was such a nice woman. It is a sad day.”

The Brigade were called at 12.40pm and the fire was under control in an hour after four fire engines and 25 firefighters from Islington, Hornsey, Holloway and Kentish Town rushed to the scene.

Parts of the second and third floor of the maisonette were damaged by the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

No arrests have been made and enquiries continue.

Homicide detectives from Specialist Crime are leading the investigation and are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

This story will be updated as more information comes in. If you saw what happened, email our newsroom Calum@Islingtontribune.com

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