Homicide probe after Tirau house fire
Police are treating the death of a Waikato grandmother whose body was found inside her burnt out Tirau house as homicide.
Roma Joseph, otherwise known as Roma Midwood, was discovered dead in her rented Tirau home that went up in flames on May 1.
Detective Senior Sergeant Matt Cranshaw confirmed the fire had been deliberately lit and police were treating the 58 year old’s death as a homicide.
About 50 per cent of the rundown weatherboard home was fully engulfed in flames by the time the first of four fire crews arrived at 3.30am.
Midwood, a 58-year-old grandmother, was discovered dead inside.
Neighbours said they woke to a thumping sound and recalled seeing a person come out of the door of Joseph’s home.
‘‘That’s what woke us up. There were no voices, two or three thumps,’’ one woman said.
She recalled seeing one person, who appeared to have their head covered and was wearing dark clothing walking down the street.
Another person, who she believed was a man, then came out the door of the woman’s home. He walked around the outside between the hedge and house, along the driveway around the back to a vehicle, she said.
‘‘He wasn’t in a hurry or anything, he was just walking. He must have got in the car.
‘‘We didn’t even know the car was there, it just glided out of the driveway.’’
Moments later, a car pulled out of the driveway and an orange hue could be seen coming from the kitchen area, she said.
‘‘My neighbour dialled the fire brigade and they were here straight away.’’
Those who knew Roma, who was known as Rona to neighbours, described her as a ‘‘lovely woman, who kept to herself’’.
Her best friend of 30 years said Joseph was a ‘‘talented and crafty woman who lived for her grandchildren’’.
Those who knew her in the small adjoining street a block back from the centre of Tirau said she kept the rental tidy and was always friendly. She would give a wave or say hello on one of her walks.
She had family not far away who visited the house from time to time.
The scene of fatal house fire on Little Street in Tirau.