Newham fire: boy, 16, arrested after girl, 14, dies in flat fire released by police

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Police had arrested a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of murder but he has been bailed

A teenage boy who was detained over the death of a 14-year-old girl in an east London fire has been released by police.

The 16-year-old had been arrested on suspicion of murder but has been bailed pending further inquiries until early May. Police were called at about 5.28pm on Thursday (6 April) to reports of a fire in Tollgate Road, Newham, which is being investigated as suspected arson and has sparked a murder investigation. Emergency services attended the address, where the girl died.

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Five others were found injured but their conditions are “not life-threatening and they have since been discharged from hospital”, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

The scene on Tollgate Road in Beckton, Newham after a fire at a block of flats. Picture: PAThe scene on Tollgate Road in Beckton, Newham after a fire at a block of flats. Picture: PA
The scene on Tollgate Road in Beckton, Newham after a fire at a block of flats. Picture: PA | PA

Tributes paid to girl as she is named locally

Teenagers were seen hugging and crying as they placed flowers on the pavement outside a block of flats in Beckton, Newham, on Friday (7 April). The girl, named locally as Tiffany, died at the scene and five others at the address were injured. They have since been discharged from hospital.

A card next to the flowers said “Tiffany we love you”. A message inside added: “So sorry for your loss. We are praying and thinking of you at this difficult time. We are always here for you no matter what.” One 14-year-old girl, who arrived at the scene with her mother to lay flowers, said she was in the same year nine class as the victim.

Paying tribute, a man who said he was a family friend described the teenager as “an angel”. The man who gave his name only as Godfrey, 30, said: “I’ve even got videos of her from when she young.

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“She spent some time with my little nephews. Those memories with her I will never forget.”

People hug at the scene on Tollgate Road in Beckton, Newham after a fire at a block of flats. Picture: PAPeople hug at the scene on Tollgate Road in Beckton, Newham after a fire at a block of flats. Picture: PA
People hug at the scene on Tollgate Road in Beckton, Newham after a fire at a block of flats. Picture: PA | PA

People ‘lept onto matresses’ to escape fire

Witnesses said they watched people jump from windows onto a mattress to escape the fire. Neighbour Inga Tilvikiene said: “First a small boy, four or five years old, jumped… Two guys found an old mattress. About six or seven people [jumped on it]. One girl just jumped onto the floor, you could see yesterday she was bruised.”

Rahina Begum, who lives opposite the flats, described how the fire “went up very quickly, within a few seconds”. She said: “In 10 to 15 seconds the whole building was on fire, from the bottom to the top.”

Kenesha Lawrence, 43, who lived in the block of flats with her 14-year-old son, is having to stay in a hostel after her home was destroyed. She said: “I am in the same clothes as I left for work yesterday morning.

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“My whole life was in there. I have been living there for nine years I have no idea what is going on in there. Just above me I know there is a family with a young baby boy. I don’t know their names. Above that it was a mother and a daughter.”

What have police said?

Chief Superintendent Simon Crick, who leads the north east command unit said: “My thoughts at this time are with the victim and their family and friends. Incidents such as these send shockwaves through our communities and I don’t underestimate the impact this will have in the local area and beyond.

“Your officers will be on patrol in the immediate vicinity over the Easter weekend, please talk to them if you have any concerns.” A crime scene and safety cordons remain in place, the force said.

Detective Chief Inspector Joanna Yorke, of the Met’s specialist crime command, added: “We are at the very early stages of our investigation and are still keen to hear from anyone who has information but has not yet spoken with police. I understand the effect an incident of this kind will have on the local community and I reiterate Chief Superintendent Crick’s advice that anyone with concerns should speak with local officers.

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“I would like to thank residents in the immediate area for their co-operation while my team conduct their enquiries. Our thoughts are with the family of the victim.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Tweet @MetCC quoting 5315/6APR.