Woman stabbed herself then set fire to house

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter. Call me on (01865) 425373

A LANCE corporal mum-of-one took her own life by stabbing herself and setting fire to her house.

The unusual circumstances surrounding the death of Intombizodwa Hove meant it was initially treated as suspicious by Thames Valley Police.

But an inquest has determined that L Cpl Hove, who was known as Tombi and served in the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers at Dalton Barracks, Abingdon, took her own life.

A fire crew from Wantage was called to reports of a blaze in Spey Road, Abingdon, at 10.15pm on Friday, August 16, last year.

They found a blaze had started inside a first-floor bedroom and were able to put it out before it spread to the rest of the house.

L Cpl Hove was rescued from the house and taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, where she later died.

The 30-year-old had a stab wound to her chest, which investigating officers could not immediately explain, but police experts eventually decided it was self-inflicted.

At an inquest last week, Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter recorded that L Cpl Hove took her own life.

Following a post mortem examination the medical cause of death was found to be inhalation of smoke and fire fumes.

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Det Sgt Stephen Knight, who investigated the incident and gave evidence at the inquest, said: “Initially it was deemed suspicious.

“When the fire brigade found the body in the fire, they discovered what was confirmed to be a stab wound to her chest.

“But, as inquiries progressed, it became clear it was a self-inflicted stab wound. And the fire was definitely started by human intervention.”

He added that the fire was found to have been started inside a bucket, in a cupboard, in L Cpl Hove’s bedroom.

He said: “No one was arrested and there was definitely no indication she was trying to blame anybody for what happened.

“It appears to have been prompted by the break up of her relationship. They broke up on the 8th and on the 10th she committed suicide, leaving her 12-year-old daughter behind.

“Now her daughter has gone back to Zimbabwe to stay with family.”

A spokesman for Dalton Barracks said: “Our thoughts and condolences remain with the family and all those affected by the death.”

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