Police attended reports of row hours before fatal house fire

301, Unthank Road. Picture: Danielle Booden

The house on Unthank Road where Vera Croghan lived. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Police were called to a late-night argument at the home of an 89-year-old academic - hours before her body was found in the burnt-out house.

Shortly after midnight on Friday, December 11, Norfolk Constabulary received a report of a row at the Unthank Road home of 89-year-old Vera Croghan.

Officers attended the scene but found that no offences had been committed.

Hours later, at around 6.40am, emergency services were called to the scene of a house fire, with Mrs Croghan's body found inside as firefighters tackled the blaze.

Vera Croghan proudly shows off a Swedish apple cake "Fyriskaka”

Vera Croghan proudly shows off a Swedish apple cake "Fyriskaka” - Credit: The Croghan Family

A teenager was arrested on Friday afternoon in connection with the blaze, and has since been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Now, as police officers continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the fire, an appeal has been made for anybody who may have heard the row to step forward.

Det Insp Chris Burgess, of Norfolk Constabulary, said: "From our enquiries so far we believe this was an isolated incident and we know the man arrested in connection with it was known to the victim.

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"We also know that officers were called to reports of an argument at the address in Unthank Road just after midnight on Friday 11 December.

"On arrival officers established no offences had been committed; however, as is standard procedure, the investigation has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

"Our priority continues to be establishing the exact circumstances leading up to the fire and I am keen to hear from anyone who may have CCTV or dashcam footage in and around the vicinity of Unthank Rd between 11pm on Thursday 10 December and 7am on Friday 11 December.”

Meanwhile, members of Mrs Croghan's family have paid tribute to her, describing her love of the Norwich area and baking recipes from her native Sweden.

The family said: "Vera was a much-loved mum of four and grandmother of 10. She dearly loved Norwich and the local area, and she loved the house that she had lived in continuously for 57 years."

Anyone with information regarding the incident should contact Det Insp Burgess in the Norfolk and Suffolk Joint Major Investigation Team on 101 quoting reference number 36/87264/20.

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