A 53-year-old man – nationality unspecified – was arrested in the Algarve last night on “strong suspicions” of having started the fire in a motorhome early yesterday morning in which a woman, believed to be his wife/ partner, burnt to death.
The macabre discovery of the carbonized body was made by firefighters attached to São Bartolomeu de Messines fire station.
They had been called to the blaze in an isolated area known as Sítio de Calvos, where they found the man ostensibly trying to extinguish it.
At this point, firefighters had no idea a person was inside the damaged vehicle.
It was only after they found the body “close to the kitchen” area that a neighbour ‘raised suspicions’, telling authorities that the husband had been ‘next to the camper van at the moment the fire began’.
Indeed, according to reports in the local Portuguese press yesterday, the neighbour claims to have seen the ‘husband’ “place the victim inside the vehicle and then set light to it”.
GNR police were the first security force to arrive at the scene. Agents rapidly summoned PJ judicial police who escorted the man to their headquarters in Portimão while various forensic activities took place.
The man was questioned yesterday afternoon “for several hours”.
He will be held in preventive custody on “strong suspicions” of aggravated murder and arson, pending a court hearing, at which time more details may be forthcoming.
Correio da Manhã tabloid today explains both the man and woman were not ‘local’ to the area.
The campervan appears to have been stationery underneath a makeshift shelter, suggesting it may have been parked there for some time.
The area is isolated, accessible only via a dirt track, and the closest houses, explains CM, are made of wood.