In what has been condemned by police as a “vile’’ incident, an elderly woman died in an arson attack in Deptford High Street in the early hours of Wednesday.
Giuseppina Fazzani, 82, who lived in a flat near a Vietnamese restaurant died in a fire that broke out at 1:40 a.m. Police said they were treating the incident as murder and that “an accelerant’’ was used to start the fire.
The nature of the attack and the actual targets are unclear as there were two neighbouring establishments that were damaged in the process.
Deputy Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command of the Metropolitan Police said: “There is evidence than an accelerant was used to start this fire on two adjoining premises.” One is a Vietnamese restaurant and the other, a café that had been converted into flat.
The café has since been boarded up, but the signs of the attack remain with a burnt signboard hanging from above and the broken windows of another residence above that also suffered from the attack.
A 55-year old woman who lived above the café was rescued by the London Fire Brigade and was treated for smoke inhalation.
Bouquets and cards were laid out in front of the boarded residence in memory of “Josie” as Giuseppina was known to people in the area.
“Josie would come to my shop sometimes and she was a kind lady”, said a shopkeeper down the road who preferred not to disclose her name.
DCI Lyons said, “Giuseppina is of Italian descent and is not connected with the Vietnamese restaurant and it is not clear at this early stage of the enquiry why these premises were targeted.”
Passers-by stopped to ponder the nature of this attack and were particular that the investigation finds some answers to put their fears to rest. “I live up on Giffin Street and had police find two suspects in a stabbing incident in my apartment a year ago,” said a lady in her 50s who also did not want to give her name. “A sense of doubt and insecurity is bound to persist in our minds unless we get some answers about what happened yesterday.”
DCI Lyons has urged anyone with information to call the incident room on 020 8721 4961 or anonymously on Crimsestoppers on 0800 555 111.