Two arrests after arson attack which led to death of woman, 86

Detectives have arrested two people after an 86-year-old woman died protecting her husband from an arson attack.

Margo Rugen fell and injured her head fleeing her home in Maghull, Merseyside, after a Land Rover outside her neighbour’s house was targeted with fireworks and ignited.

Merseyside Police said a 21-year-old woman from Kirkby and a 22-year-old woman from Huyton have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit arson with intent to endanger life.

Both were released on conditional bail and the investigation continues, the force said.

Ms Rugen fell while she evacuated from her house which was affected by smoke.

Her family said she was trying to protect her husband, George, when she was hurt.

“Margo’s family are heartbroken over this sudden and needless loss,” they said in a statement released by police.

“Because of the callous and criminal actions of others, we have lost not only a dear wife, but a mum, a nan, and a great grandmother.”

The incident happened shortly after 1am on Monday in Highgate Road, when two men set fire to the Discovery 4×4 outside an adjoining house then fled in a car, police said.

The force responded along with Merseyside Fire and Rescue and told Ms Rugen to evacuate as a precaution.

She fell and was taken to hospital, where she later died.

Ms Rugen’s family described her as “a very positive and focused human being with a strong character and a great sense of humour”.

“Throughout her life she followed her passions of sailing in her earlier years and more recently hand crafting items for friends and family and pursuing her greatest love, dancing.

“She has built her own sailing dinghy with the help of a friend and will be remembered for running dance sessions in Crosby.

“She was completely dedicated to the care of her beloved husband George as he has become more and more frail and in need of physical support.

“Even on that tragic night, she died because of the injuries she sustained trying to protect him from danger.

“We are so immensely grateful for the neighbours who helped her on that night, to the wonderful medical staff at Aintree Hospital and to Sefton Police for their support in our time of great sadness.”

Forensic examinations took place at the scene and CCTV has also been looked at.

Detective Chief Inspector Gayle Rooney said: “We believe this was a targeted attack and I would appeal to anybody who has any information about those involved in this despicable incident to contact Merseyside Police.”

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