Two teenagers charged with manslaughter and arson over fire death of woman, 88

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Two teenagers have been charged with manslaughter and arson after an 88-year-old woman was killed in a fire in east London.

Metropolitan Police officers were called to reports of a fire at a residential address in Queens Park Road, Romford, on October 28, before Josephine Smith was pronounced dead at the scene.

Kai Cooper, 18, from Leatherhead, Surrey, and a 15-year-old boy from Southend, Essex, appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Saturday charged with manslaughter.

Flowers at the house where Josephine Smith died in a fire
Flowers outside a house in Queens Park Road in Romford where Josephine Smith was killed in a fire (Ian West/PA Wire)

They were also charged with arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered.

A firework was recovered from the scene, and a post-mortem gave the cause of Ms Smith’s death as smoke inhalation.

Both were also charged with assault by beating, relating to a separate offence on October 27 in High Road, Ilford.

Cooper has been remanded in custody, while the 15-year-old has been bailed – and both will appear at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

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