UK murder inquiry after firework attack on Birmingham home leaves man dead

It is understood the firework contained about 200 tubes of explosives

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 November, 2017, 1:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 November, 2017, 1:04pm

A man has died in Britain after a suspected arson attack involving a 200-shot commercial firework destroyed his house.

Anthony Nicholls, 56, had been in an induced coma following the incident at his home in Birmingham at 11pm on November 2, West Midlands police said.

Nicholls never regained consciousness and the police said they had now launched a murder inquiry.

The fire began after the large firework was placed in the property, in the Tile Cross area of the city, and set alight. It is understood to have contained about 200 tubes of explosives and would have taken around two minutes to fully discharge.

The house quickly caught fire and the open plan living accommodation was gutted by the blaze, police said.

Nicholls’ partner, a 50-year-old woman, fractured her lower limbs after jumping from a first floor window to escape the blaze. She remained in hospital.

The police said they were following several lines of inquiry, focusing on security camera footage from the surrounding area, but appealed for neighbours with any home video to contact them.

Detective Inspector Paul Joyce said: “The impact would have been terrifying for the occupants and I would urge anyone who sold or is missing a firework of this size to get in touch.

“This would have been a large, heavy firework that would have been difficult to carry some distance, so I would ask anyone who saw someone carrying a large box in the area last Thursday night to contact us.”

A neighbour of the victim told the Birmingham Mail: “He was a decent guy. He had a daughter and I know she is going to be devastated by what has happened. We know he was having problems and his windows had been smashed on the Tuesday and Wednesday of last week before the firework attack on the Thursday.”

Another neighbour said: “The street is in shock. No one should have to go through that. I came out on the night it happened and saw the fire engines and ambulances here. I prayed he would come through this but he hasn’t made it.”