Wife found in Derbyshire house blast ‘was murdered’

The scene on Valley View Road in Riddings, Derbyshire, where a house was destroyed in a gas explosion earlier today.  September 20,  2015.  Firefighters and an ambulance crew responded to a major gas explosion in a street in Derbyshire yesterday morning (Sun).  See NTI story NTIEXPLOSION.  Emergency services were waiting for structural engineers to determine if it was safe enough for them to tackle the blaze.  Derbyshire Fire and Rescue said they were called to an �explosion� in a property in Valley View Road, in Riddings, near Alfreton, Derbs at about 7.33am.  East Midlands Ambulance Service were also at the scene, supporting the firefighters.  Officers suspect there are people inside a damaged property on the street.
The scene on Valley View Road in Riddings, Derbyshire, where a house was destroyed in a gas explosion earlier today. September 20, 2015. Firefighters and an ambulance crew responded to a major gas explosion in a street in Derbyshire yesterday morning (Sun). See NTI story NTIEXPLOSION. Emergency services were waiting for structural engineers to determine if it was safe enough for them to tackle the blaze. Derbyshire Fire and Rescue said they were called to an �explosion� in a property in Valley View Road, in Riddings, near Alfreton, Derbs at about 7.33am. East Midlands Ambulance Service were also at the scene, supporting the firefighters. Officers suspect there are people inside a damaged property on the street.
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A 45-year-old woman found dead with her husband after an explosion at their Derbyshire home was murdered, police said.

Officers believe Shelley Saxton-Cooper was wounded before the house was destroyed by an explosion and fire on Sunday morning.

Forensic teams are working to piece together the cause of the explosion and fire at the house in Valley View Road in the village of Riddings, near Alfreton, in which her husband Simon Saxton-Cooper, also died.

Chief Superintendent Sunita Gamblin of Derbyshire Police said: “We believe that Shelley, who was 45-years-old, was wounded before the explosion and fire and we are treating her death as murder.

“We’re still unable to say how either she or her husband died as post mortem examinations haven’t been completed.

“Police, crime scene investigators and fire investigation specialists are working through the scene of the fire to find out exactly how it started and what happened.

“We don’t believe, at this time, that anyone else is involved.”

Mrs Saxton-Cooper’s parents are reported to have lived next door to the couple, according to the Daily Mail.

Her father is said to have made attempts at a rescue, along with an airport firefighter who lived nearby and an off-duty policeman.

East Midlands Airport fireman Paul Archer, who lives in a neighbouring street, told how he climbed the stairs of the blazing house to search for casualties but was beaten back by intense heat.

Mr Archer, 48, said: “It didn’t sound like a massive explosion - it sounded like something big had been dropped.”

The father-of-two put on old fire-fighting equipment stored in his garage, including a tunic, a flash-hood and fire-retardant gloves, after the blast at 7.30am.

“The flames started straight away,” he said. “One of the neighbours had got a key and they opened the back door. I made my way in shouting ‘Can you hear me?’ and the downstairs was really clear.

“I got to the bottom of the stairs, shouting again, and made my way up to the top of the stairs.

“By this time the house was pretty well ablaze - the front bedroom door was on fire but I was shouting ‘hello, can anyone hear me?’”

Mr Archer also saw flames in a rear bedroom and feared the roof might cave in, eventually leaving the house via the front door as he heard the sirens of the first fire appliances to arrive.