Sheffield settee burns death riddle

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A HORRIFIED man woke to the wail of his smoke alarm - and found a stranger had burned to death on his settee.

Burns covered the victim from the waist up as he lay slumped on the sofa in a flat in Regent Court, Hillsborough, Sheffield, pictured right.

A neighbour told The Star that the 28-year-old who lives there told him he had met a man during a night out drinking in Hillsborough, and had invited him back to his flat.

Mark Guest said he heard his neighbour screaming ‘Help, help’ through his bathroom window - and when residents on the third floor went to investigate they heard the smoke alarm sounding.

Mr Guest, aged 33, said: “I heard someone shouting at about 2.10am and I got up and went outside to see what was happening.

“The guy next door was shouting through the bathroom window and saying that someone had burned to death on the settee.

“He was trapped in the flat and couldn’t get out because he couldn’t find the key to the door.

“There were a few people out making phone calls to the emergency services.

“He told me he had been drinking in Hillsborough, came back home with someone he didn’t know, and then this happened. They had both been drinking.

“He was in shock.”

Paramedics arrived and smashed their way into the flat but were unable to revive the 48-year-old casualty.

The man who lives in the flat was arrested on suspicion of murder, but later bailed pending further inquiries.

A post-mortem examination has been carried out, but the cause of death is so far ‘unascertained’. Further tests are being carried out.

The dead man has been identified, and his family has been informed. His identity has not yet been released by police.

Other neighbours said police sealed off the flat while forensics experts examined the property. Officers stood guard at the door until it was boarded up by the police.

Neighbours said officers called at their homes asking if anyone had seen or heard anything.

Tony Thomas, aged 80, said: “The police came first thing to see if I knew anything but they didn’t tell me what had happened, which was unnerving.

“I was in the bathroom at 5.30am that morning and I saw two white figures going by like ghosts. At the time I didn’t know who they were but now I realise it must have been the forensics men in their suits.

“There was a big crime scene investigation van outside and people coming and going from the flat.

“I don’t know who lived there but I don’t think they had been there long. People are shocked.”

William Nadin, 76, said: “I don’t know who lives there - I used to see two or three men coming and going and one of them used to stand on the corner smoking. They kept themselves to themselves.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “Emergency services were called to a flat on Bradfield Road in the early hours of Friday. The body of a man was discovered inside at around 2.30am.

“A 28-year-old local man has been arrested in connection with the incident, while officers work to establish circumstances of the death.”

Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 98 of August 3 or Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555.