Harold Wood fatal fire: Family pays tribute to 'fantastic' mum and gran

Josephine Smith

Josephine Smith's family described her as a "fantastic, loving mum and gran" - Credit: courtesy of Josephine Smith's family

An 88-year-old woman who died in a Harold Wood house fire was a "loving" mother and grandmother, her family has said.

The tributes were paid to Josephine Smith, who was found at the scene of the blaze in Queens Park Road on the night of October 28.

The grandmother-of-seven had lived in Harold Wood her entire life.

She was born in Shepherds Hill and her family were involved in building the nearby railway line.

Josephine went to the former Harold Wood Primary School and then Redden Court secondary school.

Her family said she had memories of having to run for cover from Doodlebug flying bombs that came overhead during the Second World War.

She later married and had five children - Linda, Julie, Alan, Stephen and Derek.

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Josephine, who separated from her husband 20 years ago, walked the children to and from school every day.

The family said: "She was a fantastic, loving mum and gran.

"She was passionate about snooker and darts and was obsessed with Elvis Presley, visiting Graceland a few years ago."

Her death was caused by smoke inhalation, according to a post-mortem examination.

Police have arrested a man in his late teens, a girl in her late teens and a boy in his mid teens on suspicion of murder.

They have been bailed until late November.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and police are continuing to appeal for information.

Det Ch Insp Linda Bradley said: “This is a very sad case and we are supporting Mrs Smith’s family and keeping them fully updated on the current status of our inquiry.

"We currently await the outcome of forensic enquiries and other lines of investigation, but if anyone has any information then I would ask them to contact police immediately.”

Any witnesses or anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 9358 1010, phone 101 or tweet @MetCC, quoting CAD 8170/28OCT.

To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org.