Date: 11 Jul 2013
Place: Slyfield Green, Guildford
Frederyk Kucharski died following a fire at his first-floor flat after a flaming object was pushed through his letterbox.
The fire was started on 6 July 2013. He was pulled out of the building by firefighters and taken to the Royal Surrey County Hospital but died five days later on 11 July 2013. When he was saved from the fire, he was unconscious and never regained consciousness before he died.
A fireman that attended the scene said, 'From the door, there was thick black smoke and it was hot in there. We crawled on our hands and knees and visibility was very faint. We saw a person on the floor near the kitchen, lying on his back. He was unresponsive, and we lifted him up and carried him outside'.
His post-mortem concluded that he had died from the injuries he received from the fire. The pathologist said that his cause of death was primarily due to multiple organ failure with a blood clot, in the context of the inhalation of fire fumes and burns. He said that soot was found in his vocal cords and lungs, and that his carboxyhaemoglobin levels were high. He noted that Frederyk Kucharski had been a non-smoker and had not been intoxicated at the time of the fire. He added that there were burns found on Frederyk Kucharski’s shoulders, upper back, scalp, eyebrows, ears, chin, chest and on one thumb'
A fire expert said that it was clear the fire had started below the letter box at the front door, where concentrated charring was found alongside a burnt net curtain. He said that he could rule out an electrical fire being the cause of the blaze as well as any suggestion that Frederyk Kucharski had started it himself as there were no matches or lighters found in the flat.
The fire expert said that he thought that Frederyk Kucharski had been alerted to the fire and then gone into the hallway, and then turned his back on it and made his way towards the furthest point from it before being forced down by the smoke as it filled the house up.
The fire expert noted that there was no other way out of the house other than by the front door which was on fire and that the phone in the house was by the front door.
It was noted that the fire was started shortly after he complained about rowdy behaviour and noise from neighbours in the block of flats that he lived in. A neighbour said, 'As I understand it, it is all to do with noise. I think Fred may have asked someone to turn down their music.'. Another woman said, 'There was definitely a dispute'.
Four people were arrested soon after his death but later released.
The police said that they were interested in speaking to anyone that had seen him in the days before his murder or noticed anything unusual in the early hours of Saturday.
The police operation to solve his murder was called Operation Quillback.
Frederyk Kucharski was from Poland and had fled to the United Kingdom after the German invasion in 1939 and later fought with the Allies.