Wednesday 13 December 2017

Man burns woman to death after ambush in elevator

Rachel Alexander in New York

A woman was burned to death in the lift of her New York apartment building after a man ambushed her, sprayed her with liquid and set her on fire with a Molotov cocktail, police said.

Police were last night questioning a man in connection with the death.

New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said that the 47-year-old man went into a police station a couple of miles from where the attack happened in Brooklyn and said he had started a fire.

Authorities say the man has made statements implicating himself and came in overnight reeking of petrol. He has not been charged.

Doris Gillespie burned to death in the lift yesterday afternoon. Police say a man was waiting for her, sprayed the 64-year-old woman with accelerant and set her on fire with a Molotov cocktail.

Police have said they believe the suspect knew Ms Gillespie.


The unidentified man was waiting for the woman when the lift doors opened to her floor of the Prospect Heights building in Brooklyn.

The brutal attack lasted about a minute and was recorded by two video cameras, including one inside the small lift.

Mr Browne said the video showed the lift doors opening and the assailant spraying her.

The woman, who had grocery bags in her arms, then crouched in an attempt to protect herself, he said. But the man sprayed her directly in the face and continued to spray her "sort of methodically".

At some point, Mr Browne said, the suspect pulled out a barbecue-style lighter, used it to ignite a rag in a bottle and then waited for a few seconds before using the flames to set her alight, causing smoke to fill the lift.

The man backed out as the woman fell to the floor of the lift, Mr Browne said, and seemed to pause before tossing the bottle inside the lift on to the woman.

Mr Browne would not comment on the motive in the killing, but said the suspect knew his victim.

Irish Independent

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