Date: 20 Jan 1994
Place: Fleet Road, Hampstead
Bishek Kalwa and Alina Tamborska died in an arson attack at their flat on Sunday, 20 January 1994.
The killer had poured a trail of petrol which led from the house and out through the cat flap. They had lived on the second floor of the flat and had been trapped in their bedroom by the flames.
They were a Polish couple and worked at the local Mexican eatery, 'La Salsa' and had lived in a flat above a dress shop in Fleet Road, Hampstead, which they had shared with a Lebanese national. The flat was described as a 'company owned flat'.
The Lebanese national, who spoke through an interpreter, said that he had woken up on the morning of 20 January 1994 at 6.30am planning to meet a friend and that he started to hear some noises from their bedroom as though a cupboard was falling. He said, 'I looked out of the window and I saw what appeared to be dust. But when I opened the door the smoke came in. I could feel fire beneath my feet.' He said that he then cried out for help from a window and said that a passer-by told him that the fire brigade had been called. However, he said that he could not wait any longer and rushed into the bathroom, smashed the window and then climbed out on to the balcony and jumped into the street. He added that as he was making his escape he could hear Bishek Kalwa and Alina Tamborska talking but said that he could not understand what they were saying as they were speaking a language he didn't know.
A policeman said that at some point later he saw Alina Tamborska at one of the flat windows, but said, 'There was a lot of smoke, she was half way out of the window and appeared to be trying to scream'.
However, it was heard that by the time the fire brigade entered the flat with breathing apparatus, Bishek Kalwa and Alina Tamborska were both dead.
The pathologist said that they had both died from asphyxia due to inhalation of fire fumes, noting that they also both had extensive and severe burns covering their bodies.
The police said that they could find no motive behind their murders. They said that they had taken 437 statements and carried out 1022 actions during their investigation as well as responding to 320 messages about the fire.
The police said that one line of enquiry had looked into rumours that there had been a price war between local restaurants but said that that later ruled that out.
Experts that examined the site said that the fire was started deliberately in the first-floor lounge beneath their bedroom.
A man from the Metropolitan Police Forensic Fire Unit said, 'Petrol was probably distributed around the living room and hallway of the first floor and ignited with a naked flame, possibly through the cat flap. It developed rapidly. Their door was at the top of their stairs, their escape route was blocked'.
At their inquests, a verdict of unlawful killing was recorded.