Locked in and burnt alive

2016-01-04 11:38
Firefighters remove burnt debris after a house caught alight on Bulwer Street on Saturday.

Firefighters remove burnt debris after a house caught alight on Bulwer Street on Saturday. (Kailene Pillay, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A woman has been taken into custody after her boyfriend was locked in a house and burnt alive on Saturday.

Police have confirmed that they are investigating a case of murder and the woman is in custody. Spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the woman was expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court this week.

“Initially we had opened an inquest docket but now we are investigating a case of murder. It is believed the woman removed her boyfriend’s valuables before locking him in the house. The fire then started, although we cannot confirm who started the fire or how it started. The man was trapped in the house and eventually died,” said Ngobese.

Nearby residents told The Witness at the scene that they had heard an argument between a man and a woman shortly before the fire started.

“I just saw the police taking a woman away but I am not sure what is happening. I don’t think this was an accident,” said one of the neighbours, who asked to remain anonymous.

Netcare 911 paramedics and the Msunduzi fire department had been called to the house at around midday on Saturday.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said firefighters battled the blaze and found that a man had been trapped in the house.

“After the fire was extinguished it was established that the man had tragically died in the fire,” said Botha.

Ngobese said the man was believed to be in his mid-30s. His next of kin have not yet been informed, therefore no further details regarding the man have been established.

Whilst firefighters battled the blaze, paramedics found and treated a pet snake that had sustained burns during the fire.

“Medics treated the snake and called for the SPCA to come and fetch it,” said Botha.

The building, which houses more than one family, is allegedly owned by a group of men.

One of the managers of the building, who asked not to be named, said that the owners would only comment on the incident once the police investigations had been completed.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  fire

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