Police 'could have prevented' Oxford flats explosion

Media caption,
An Oxford Mail reporter filmed the explosion

A fatal explosion in Oxford could have been prevented if police had acted on warnings, a councillor has claimed.

Guido Schuette died in the blast that destroyed three flats and badly damaged others in the Gibbs Crescent area on 14 February.

Susanna Pressel said she understands police officers visited the 48-year-old on the day of the blast because he had threatened to blow up the building.

Thames Valley Police said it could not comment until after the inquest.

Ms Pressel, a Labour councillor for both Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, said she could not understand why officers did not search Mr Schuette's flat.

Image source, Alexander Hammonds
Image caption,
Up to 40 firefighters tackled the fire following the explosion

"The police were called to the scene on the day of the explosion by a neighbour who was very worried because Guido Schuette was threatening to blow the place up. So the police called on him.

"They had been called a few days before as well, they knew what sort of person he was, they could have prevented this in my view," she said.

Three flats were destroyed in the explosion, and others were badly damaged.

Those affected would remain boarded up and would be demolished "as soon as is practically possible", housing association A2 Dominion said.

A police spokesman said: "A coroner's inquest will be carried out in due course and caution has to be taken not to prejudice this process and as such it would not be appropriate for us to comment."

No date has yet been set for an inquest into Mr Schuette's death.

Image caption,
Three flats were destroyed by the explosion and others were badly damaged

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