Una Crown: Police arrest man, 69, over Wisbech pensioner's 2013 murder

Una Crown's body was found with stab wounds and had been set on fire.
Credit: Cambridgeshire Police
Una Crown was found dead at her home in Magazine Lane, Wisbech in January 2013. Credit: Family photo

Detectives investigating the death of a pensioner at home have arrested a man on suspicion of her murder, more than 11 years on.

Retired postmistress Una Crown, 86, was found dead after a house fire at her home in Wisbech, on the Cambridgeshire-Norfolk border on 13 January 2013.

Her death was initially treated as unexplained but, after a post-mortem examination concluded Mrs Crown died from stab wounds to her neck and chest, a murder investigation was launched.

Cambridgeshire Police said a 69-year-old man from Wisbech had been arrested on suspicion of murder.

The man was arrested on Monday and was in custody at Thorpe Wood Police Station in Peterborough, they added.

Mrs Crown was found by a family member lying in the hallway of her home in Magazine Lane in a pool of blood.

Police originally suspected the pensioner had accidentally set herself alight while using her cooker.

Tests later found she had been stabbed in the neck and chest before being set on fire. The injuries to Mrs Crown's neck had been covered by a scarf.

Police said her clothing had been set alight in an apparent attempt to disguise her injuries and destroy evidence, but the fire did not spread to the rest of the house.

An inquest into Ms Crown’s death in 2015 heard Cambridgeshire Police missed “clear signs” of her murder during an initial investigation in which officers believed she had died in an accident.

A TV appeal was aired on Crimewatch in March 2023, 10 years on from her death, with a reward of up to £20,000 offered for information leading to conviction.

At the time of the appeal, Annabelle Goodenough of Crimestoppers described it as "a truly awful, shocking and sad case".

Una Crown with her husband Jack. Credit: Family photo/Cambridgeshire Police

The murder of Una Crown - a timeline

12 January 2013: 86-year-old Una Crown from Wisbech calls a friend at around 5pm - her last known contact. She was last seen the day before.

13 January 2013: Mrs Crown's body is discovered by a family member at her home. Police originally treat the death as not suspicious.

Officers who attend the scene suspect she accidentally set herself alight while using her cooker and that gashes to her neck had been caused by a scarf she had been wearing as she fell.

15 January 2013: A post-mortem takes place. It finds that Mrs Crown had been repeatedly stabbed in the neck and chest and her clothes set alight. This leads to the opening of a murder investigation.

18 January 2013: A knife is found by a member of the public close to her house on Magazine Lane.

31 January 2013: A man is arrested on suspicion of murder. He is later released without further action.

April 2013: The murder features on BBC's Crimewatch as part of another appeal. A £10,000 reward is offered by the charity Crimestoppers.

October 2014: Two men are arrested in connection with the murder. They are both released without further action.

November 2014: A 44-year-old man is released on bail, after being arrested on suspicion of murdering Mrs Crown. He becomes the fourth man arrested since the murder.

March 2015: A coroner's inquest delivers a strong criticism Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The coroner says that key forensic evidence was lost in the immediate investigation and foul play was "too readily dismissed". A pathologist on the scene said her death "was suspicious for a whole different range of reasons". The police apologise for the "failings" at the start of their investigation.

January 2023: A decade on, Cambridgeshire Constabulary release another appeal - attempting to track down her killer.

March 2023: The Crimestoppers reward is doubled to £20,000. This is following another Crimewatch appeal.

January 2024: Eleven years on from the murder, the police appeal for information once more.

15 April 2024: Police confirm a 69-year-old man from Wisbech has been arrested and is being questioned on suspicion of Mrs Crown's murder.

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