Retired Swedish academic, 89, is killed in a fire at her semi-detached £750,000 Norwich home


Retired Swedish academic, 89, is killed in a fire at her semi-detached £750,000 Norwich home as police arrest a teenager who knew her

  • Vera Croghan was found dead after a fire at her home in Unthank Road today
  • A man in his late teens who knew her was arrested and questioned by police
  • Mrs Croghan used to teach Swedish at the University of East Anglia in Norwich

A teenager has been arrested after an 89-year-old Swedish academic was found dead after a fire at her home.

Police forensic teams and fire investigators with dogs examined the badly burned home of the victim named locally as Vera Croghan today.

Her body was found by firefighters called to deal with a blaze just before 7am today at her £750,000 Edwardian semi-detached home in Unthank Road, Norwich. 

Norfolk Police said an elderly woman was declared dead at the scene and her death was currently being treated as ‘unexplained’.

A teenager has been arrested after 89-year-old Swedish academic Vera Croghan was found dead after a fire at her home in Norwich

Mrs Croghan (pictured) taught Swedish for many years at the University of East Anglia In Norwich and had written several books on learning the language

Police forensic teams and fire investigators with dogs examined her badly burned home today

Mrs Croghan (left) taught Swedish for many years at the University of East Anglia In Norwich and had written several books on learning the language. Right: Police forensic teams and fire investigators with dogs examined her badly burned home today

The statement added: ‘Whilst the cause of the fire is yet to be established, officers have arrested a man in his late teens in connection with the incident.

‘He was taken to Wymondham Police Investigation Centre and will be questioned in due course.

‘Following initial enquiries officers do believe that the man arrested and the victim are known to one another.

‘A cordon remains in place around the property whilst enquiries continue. Unthank Road was temporarily closed, but has since been reopened.’

Earlier police said they were ‘investigating the circumstances leading up to the fire and its cause’.

Norfolk Police said they were "investigating the circumstances leading up to the fire and its cause" at Mrs Croghan's large Edwardian semi-detached house

Norfolk Police said they were ‘investigating the circumstances leading up to the fire and its cause’ at Mrs Croghan’s large Edwardian semi-detached house

Mrs Croghan’s blackened home remained cordoned off today as forensic officers carried out their investigations inside.

She taught Swedish for many years at the University of East Anglia in Norwich and had written several books on learning the language.

The mother-of-two who had nine grandchildren was born in Sweden and went to university in Lund where she studied Scandinavian languages, English and comparitive literature.

Neighbours said she had lived for at least 50 years in her house which is in an upmarket area of Norwich known as the Golden Triangle

Forensice police talk with an officer at the cordon outside Mrs Croghan's home in Norwich today

Forensice police talk with an officer at the cordon outside Mrs Croghan’s home in Norwich today

A profile of Mrs Croghan on Amazon said: ‘Directly after her last degree she was appointed to teach Swedish Language at the University of Aberdeen.

‘After her marriage to an English academic she moved to Edinburgh, and later they moved to Norwich when the University of East Anglia was opened.

‘She has been very happy teaching Swedish there for over 30 years. When she gets the time she would like to teach her nine British grandchildren Swedish.’

Family friend Noel Course of Wreningham, Norfolk, said: ‘I had known her all my life. My father was her accountant and I previously lived just around the corner.

‘She was such a lovely lady, but she had become a little frail. She used to work on doing Swedish translations at her home, but had retired.

Mrs Croghan's blackened home remained cordoned off today as forensic officers carried out their investigations inside

Mrs Croghan’s blackened home remained cordoned off today as forensic officers carried out their investigations inside

‘I had only spoken to her on the phone yesterday and she was just fine then, although she said she was getting quite forgetful. I do hope that isn’t what caused the fire.

‘We had only recently exchanged Christmas cards. She was very well liked and had a son and a daughter, so it is terribly sad. Her son stayed with her on and off.’

Lili Stebbings, 22, who lives two doors away said: ‘I went out for a meal on Thursday night and it was all quiet when I arrived home.

‘But when I got up this morning, I saw three fire engines, two ambulances and loads of police cars.’

Gay Lind, 72, who lives nearby said: ‘I didn’t know her personally, but it is terribly sad to hear of. I woke up and saw the flashing so looked out and there it was all happening.’

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