Traveller charged with murder of mother

PUBLISHED: 09:29 14 May 2007 | UPDATED: 22:47 28 May 2010

The scene of the caravan blaze where the woman's body was found by firefighters

The scene of the caravan blaze where the woman's body was found by firefighters

A TRAVELLER has appeared in court charged with the murder of his elderly mother and the attempted murder of his father.

Richard Branch, 38, appeared at Huntingdon Magistrates' Court today (Wednesday) where he faced charges in relation to a caravan fire at a traveller's site in the Fens.

A TRAVELLER has appeared in court charged with the murder of his elderly mother and the attempted murder of his father.

Richard Branch, 38, appeared at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday) where he faced charges in relation to a caravan fire at a traveller’s site in the Fens.

Lavinia Branch, 71 died in the blaze and her husband Thomas Branch, 77, is currently in a critical condition in hospital.

The incident happened at the Turf Fen Bridge caravan park at Murrow at around 5am on Saturday.

Branch, who lived in an adjoining caravan, only spoke to confirm his name and address. His solicitor Mike Trippitt make no application for bail and he was remanded him in custody to appear before Cambridge Crown Court on Monday May 21.

Branch, heavily tanned with long bleach-blonde hair, arrived in a police van at Huntingdon shortly before 11.30am, and was driven off straight after the five minute hearing.

Thomas Branch was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, suffering from smoke inhalation, but was later transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, where his condition was described as critical but stable.

The formal identification of Mrs Branch has not yet been held, as police said it will have to be carried out forensically.

Det Chief Insp Mark Alexander, who is leading the investigation, said: "We are extremely pleased that a number of people have come forward and spoken to the police about what they know of this incident.

"But I would still like to hear from anyone who knows anything of the circumstances surround the fire.

"Please contact me with any information."

Firemen spent more than an hour tackling the caravan blaze and the area was immediately sealed off with police tape as forensic experts began a thorough examination of the area.

A 47-year-old woman from the Wisbech area, was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and has been bailed until June 19.

Anyone with information is asked to call Cambridgeshire Police on 0845 456 4567.

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