Glasgow & West Scotland

Murder probe after woman dies in 'deliberate' Kilmarnock fire

fire engine at house
Image caption Police believe the fire was started in a "targeted attack"

A murder investigation is under way after a 71-year-old woman died in a fire at a house in Kilmarnock.

Firefighters were called to a blaze in Kilmaurs Road at 23:40 on Saturday.

The woman, local resident Catherine Kelly, was pronounced dead at the scene. A 41-year-old man was taken to hospital with serious injuries. Another woman, aged 41, who was also in the house at the time was not injured.

Police said the fire was a "targeted and deliberate act".

Officers have appealed for witnesses to come forward. They indicated they are following a definite line of inquiry.

Local residents who tried to help put out the blaze were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

The injured man was taken to Crosshouse Hospital where medical staff described his condition as stable.

Image caption Local residents tried to help put out the blaze
Image caption Police officers and specialist forensic teams remained at the scene on Sunday afternoon

Det Ch Insp Allan Burton said: "The outbreak of fire within the house on Kilmaurs Road has resulted in the death of an elderly woman.

"Following a joint investigation with our colleagues at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, we now know that this was a targeted and deliberate act.

"Local residents are understandably shocked and I would like to acknowledge the bravery of those neighbours and passing motorists who raised the alarm and attempted to do what they could to extinguish the blaze.

"I want to reassure local residents that all is being done to trace the person or persons responsible."

Specialist forensic staff and detectives remain at the scene as part of the murder investigation. Additional uniformed officers are also on patrol in the area.

Det Ch Insp Burton added: "We have spoken with a number of witnesses at this time.

"I would ask any local residents or passing motorists who have yet to come forward and speak to police, please contact us with any information you may have."

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