Gorleston man charged with murder and arson over death of Linda Hood

Linda Hood, right, with her late husband Alan Hood.

Linda Hood, right, with her late husband Alan Hood. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Police have charged a man with murder and arson in connection with the death of Linda Hood in Gorleston earlier this month.

Paul Kelly-Bridle, 58, from Gorleston, was charged following a complex police investigation which has involved several arrests and appeals for information.

Ms Hood, 68, described by neighbours as a "larger than life woman who always had a smile on her face", was found dead inside her property at 9am on Friday 11 June, after police attended a fire at her home in Cherwell Way alongside firefighters.

Scenes of crime officer in the garden of property in Gorleston where Linda Hood was found dead following a fire.

Scenes of crime officer in the garden of property in Gorleston where Linda Hood was found dead following a fire. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

Following the results of a post mortem, detectives from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team opened a murder investigation after establishing the cause of death was compression to the neck.

Within a week of her death, on Thursday, June 17, officers arrested a man aged in his 50s in connection with the murder.

He was taken to Great Yarmouth Police Investigation Centre for questioning and released on bail the following day.

On Monday June 21, a second man, also in his fifties, was arrested in the morning in connection with Ms Hood's death.

He was released under police investigation the following evening.

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Earlier this week police released CCTV footage showing Linda getting off a bus along Brasenose Avenue at 1.18pm on Thursday, June 10, the day before her body was found. 

Detectives investigating the murder of a woman in Gorleston have released CCTV footage of her last known sighting.

Detectives investigating the murder of Linda Hood (left) have released CCTV footage of her last known sighting. - Credit: Norfolk Police

Detective Chief Inspector Phill Gray said: "We hope this footage of Linda may jog someone’s memory and encourage those who may have seen her on either Thursday, June 10, or Friday, June 11, to come forward and speak to us."

He called on taxi drivers working in Magdalen Square or Cherwell Way in Gorleston between 12pm on June 10, and 9am on June 11 to come forward. 

In the week following her death Linda's brother, Tony Green, had spoken out in a bid to help police and has called on the public to help police solve the mystery of who killed his "beloved sister".

He said: "I am deeply saddened to hear the awful news of how my beloved sister Linda has died, she was a kind, friendly lady who would assist in helping anyone out.

 "I really want to urge for anyone who has any information to come forward and assist the police with this serious investigation”. 

Beverley Hunter has paid tribute to Linda Hood whose body was found at a property in Gorleston.

Beverley Hunter has paid tribute to Linda Hood whose body was found at a property in Gorleston. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

Beverley Hunter, from nearby Brasenose Avenue, knew Linda for about five years. She told this newspaper: "She was a lovely lady. “She wouldn’t hurt a fly and would help anyone out - she would give her last pound if she could.

“She didn’t hurt anyone. She was a good neighbour and friend and she will be sorely missed. 

“Everyone on the estate is devastated about how she died - it’s a tragic death. 

The 57-year-old said Linda delivered newspapers in the area from 6am and each morning, "in all weathers".

Police remain on scene at Cherwell Way, Gorleston after the body of a woman was discovered following a house fire. 

Police remain on scene at Cherwell Way, Gorleston after the body of a woman was discovered following a house fire. - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

 Megan O’Connor, a supervisor at McColl’s on Magdalen Way, where Linda delivered papers from, said: “Whenever you saw her she would be larger than life with a smile on her face always.

“She never once complained about delivering the papers whatever the weather she was out in.

“One morning we had three paper deliverers off but she said ‘I will do them’.”

Heather Roberts, a sales assistant at the store, said: “She was a lovely lady. She always said hello to me. She was lovely, she really was - it’s a shame."

Anyone with information is asked to provide it to police online via this online portal: https://mipp.police.uk/operation/363720N69-PO1. 

Alternatively contact Detective Chief Inspector Phill Gray in the Major Investigation Team on 101 quoting Operation Osgood or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Kelly-Bridle, of Worcester Way, Gorleston, was charged this afternoon with murder, and arson with intent to endanger life.

He has been remanded in custody and will appear at Norwich Magistrates Court for his first hearing tomorrow, Wednesday 30 June 2021.


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