Murder detectives arrest second man over firework arson attack at house

Detectives investigating the murder of a father in an arson attack involving a firework have arrested a second suspect.

West Midlands Police said the 22-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of murder on Thursday over the death of Anthony Nicholls.

The 56-year-old victim, known as Tony, was placed in an induced coma after the firework was set off at his home in Tile Cross, Birmingham, on November 2. He died five days later.

A 29-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder earlier in the investigation was subsequently bailed.

Mr Nicholls had been enjoying a Chinese takeaway with his partner when a group of men burst into his home on Birchtrees Drive at around 11.20pm, police said.

They lit an "industrial-sized" firework, containing around 200 tubes of explosives, which caused a major fire.

It is thought the explosives would have taken around two minutes to fully discharge.

Firefighters rushed Mr Nicholls to hospital but he died from his injuries.

His partner, a 50-year-old woman, was left with life-changing injuries after jumping from a first floor window, police said.

A £10,000 reward was offered for information about the "cowardly" murder.

Images released by police last week showed a box of a "Colossus Finale" explosive, with a recommended retail price of £129.99.

Detective Inspector Paul Joyce, from West Midlands Police homicide team, said: "Our investigation is proceeding at a rapid pace.

"We strongly believe the answer to solving this case lies in the local community and we'd like to hear from anyone with information who has not come forward."

It remains unclear what the motive for the attack was, officers said on Monday.

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