GREAT-grandmother Edith Stuart was sleeping peacefully in her bed at a Cleveleys care home when an unknown killer set her bedding alight.
The 96-year-old’s death last year is still raw for her loving family, who are struggling to understand why anyone would want to cut her happy life tragically short.
As The Gazette’s week-long series of unsolved murders draws to a close, Mrs Stuart’s relatives explain the need to keep the cases in the spotlight – to help bring killers to justice and give families some semblance of closure.
Shirley Fish, Mrs Stuart’s daughter, from Poulton, said: “I’m annoyed how black my thoughts are now.
“I have tried so hard to think about how mum looked the last time I saw her before the fire – she looked so nice, she was so content.
“Whoever did this didn’t have to be with her in the hospital, it’s horrific.
“We are not in a good place – we have got to have closure.
“The police are working their socks off. How cruel and wrong someone hasn’t had to look everyone in the face in court.
“We don’t want to be in the limelight, we are a back row family.
“But seeing it in the news is important – it shows whoever did this have not totally got away with it.”
Mrs Stuart’s bedding was set alight while she slept in her bed at Cleveleys Park Rest Home on Stockdove Way on Monday, October 18 last year.
Firefighters rescued nine staff and residents from the blazing building. Three elderly residents and two members of staff were taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Doctors battled to save Mrs Stuart, who had suffered terrible burns and smoke inhalation, but she died 30 hours later.
A joint police and fire investigation concluded the cause of the blaze was arson. It is thought a lighter may have been used to start the fire.
Two staff members were arrested but were released without charge.
They no longer work at the home.
Det Insp Martin Clague, from Lancashire Police’s major investigation team, said: “It was very tragic. This was a case of arson and we want to bring the killer to justice – that is the objective of our investigation.
“It is an ongoing inquiry at this time and we are still in contact with the family through our family liaison officers.”
Mrs Fish, 76, added: “People are so caring and have been very supportive. I do have faith in everyone – it’s just this one person who did this to my mother.
“Whoever did this is not mentally sound.”
Anyone with information about the fire is urged to call Lancashire Police on 08451 253545 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
MURDER MOTIVE HARD TO FATHOM
TRAGIC Edith Stuart told her relatives how happy she was just three days before a blaze ripped through her bedroom at Cleveleys Park Rest Home.
The great-grandmother was today described as a “content” woman who lived for her family – making a possible motive for murdering the caring 96-year-old hard to fathom.
Mrs Stuart, a former weaver, had lived independently in her Burnley home for around 30 years after the death of her husband Bill.
When, aged 92, the time finally came for her to move into a rest home, the family chose carefully.
Her daughter Jean Worgan said: “It was a very homely place. She was very happy there and it has always been a very good home. She loved the food.”
She had lived in the home on Stockdove Way for four years when tragedy struck.
Shirley Fish, Mrs Stuart’s daughter, said: “We can’t understand it. She was just so generous. She just so wanted to please everyone.”
UNSOLVED MURDERS SERIES: