Una Crown murder: Family concerned by initial police response

Una Crown and Jack Crown
Image caption Una Crown, pictured with late husband Jack, lived alone in her bungalow

The family of an elderly woman found dead in her home believe police took too long to begin a murder inquiry.

The burnt body of Una Crown, 86, was discovered at her house in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, on 13 January.

Family members visiting the house in Magazine Lane on 15 January said it resembled "a crime scene" but an investigation was not launched until the following day.

Cambridgeshire Police will meet the family later to discuss their concerns.

The official murder investigation began on 16 January, following a post-mortem examination which concluded Mrs Crown had been stabbed repeatedly, including through the heart and lungs.

'Felt guilty'

Her body had then been set alight in what police believe was an attempt to cover up the murder.

She had not been seen alive since Friday 11 January, but had spoken to a friend by telephone at about 17:00 GMT on the Saturday.

Three men were seen near her home late on the Saturday night. Her niece discovered her body the following morning.

Mrs Crown's brother, Terry White, 75, visited the house with other family members two days later "to start clearing her things away".

At that time, he said police had not asked the family to stay out of the bungalow.

He said he thought they should have acted sooner, "because of what they could see".

"It was obviously a crime scene. It wasn't an accident," he said.

"You wouldn't stab yourself, would you?

Image caption Terry White said his sister's house was obviously a crime scene

"The fires, where the body was laid, her slipper laid there - it wasn't just a straightforward burglary.

"Someone had made an attempt to cover things up.

"At the time we were thinking, 'They've got to do forensics and things, and we shouldn't be touching things'. We felt guilty about it."

In a statement, Cambridgeshire Police said: "We are in regular contact with Una's family via a family liaison officer and we are due to meet them this afternoon (30 April).

"Any complaint about police actions will be fully investigated. In light of this, it would be inappropriate to discuss the issues further at this time."

Detectives investigating the case made an appeal for witnesses on the BBC's Crimewatch programme on Monday.

They are particularly keen to trace the murder weapon, a 10in (25cm) kitchen knife which they believe the killer brought with him or her.

A £10,000 reward has been offered by independent charity Crimestoppers for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Mrs Crown's killer.

A 58-year-old man arrested in late January in connection with the investigation remains on bail until 15 May.

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