England

Woman, 18, dies in London police visit plunge

The tower block in Woolwich where the woman died
Image caption The woman fell from the 17th floor of the tower block

An 18-year-old woman has died in a plunge from the 17th floor of a tower block as police visited a flat in south-east London.

The woman was alone in a bedroom of the flat in Mulgrave Road, Woolwich, when she fell from the window, police said.

Two officers arrested a man present at the flat on suspicion of assisting an offender. He was bailed until June.

Their visit was a planned arrest inquiry about a woman being recalled to jail for robbery offences, police said.

The incident has been referred to police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and the Metropolitan Police Service's Directorate of Professional Standards is also investigating.

Forensic teams are examining the flat, which is being guarded by two police officers.

Speaking from the scene, Met Borough Commander David Zinzan said: "The facts as we know them are shortly before 9.30am, two plain-clothed officers from Bromley police station came to Hastings House for routine arrest inquiries in connection with a young lady who was wanted by the Met for recall to prison for robbery offences.

"They were allowed into the premises and our initial investigations show that she was in a room on her own when tragically she fell to her death from the 17th floor."

The door to her room was "half open", he said.

Mr Zinzan said the woman sought by the police was released from prison on licence after serving part of her sentence for three street robberies in London committed in 2009.

"She breached her licence conditions so therefore we have a duty to take her back to prison," he said.

Mr Zinzan said police "do this every day of the week" and the officers who went to the address believed there was "no apparent heightened risk".

Regarding the man arrested at the property, Mr Zinzan said: "He was arrested for assisting an offender, he was taken to a police station and he was then released on bail because of the sensitivity of what had happened."

Another woman who was present in the flat at the time is being treated as a "significant witness".

The teenager, who is yet to be formally identified, was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination will take place on Wednesday.

'Friendly people'

Nick Raynsford, Labour MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, said he had been shocked by the woman's death.

"I am waiting to hear further details," he said. "There will be a full meeting of all the agencies, including police and the council."

He said police officers based in Bromley and not Greenwich had attended the property.

Image caption The 18-year-old was on her own in her bedroom when she fell from a window, police said

A spokesperson from the Royal Borough of Greenwich said: "The incident occurred in a right-to-buy property not owned by the council after police from Bromley attended the address to make an arrest inquiry.

"We believe that the young woman may have been known to Bromley Council services and we will be seeking further information from both parties about this tragic case."

Council caretaker of the building, Prince Langlais, 42, said he knew the woman and the arrested man.

"I knew them to say hello to because I live just around the corner," he said.

"They were very friendly people."

Michael Mulkerrins, 28, a carpenter who lives on the 15th floor, directly below where the woman fell, said his partner heard a row from inside the flat minutes before the fall.

"He heard an argument, he heard shouting and bawling," he said. "About 10 minutes later she was out of the window.

"He didn't see the girl but he did see her on the floor."

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