An elderly woman could have died as a result of a suspected arson attack at a hospital.

Firefighters tackled the blaze at the Royal Stoke University Hospital on June 7 and one man was arrested in connection with the incident.

Patients had to be evacuated from the main building following the incident as smoke spread to other parts of the hospital. Now, Staffordshire Police have confirmed that the death of an 89-year-old woman may have been as a result of the fire and evacuation.

Detective Inspector Daniel Ison said: “Our investigation has led us to assess whether any deaths at the hospital around the time of the incident were related”.

“Working with the hospital and the coroners, we have identified an 89-year-old woman that may have died as a result of the fire and the subsequent evacuation. A post mortem has been completed and we are now waiting for a pathologist to confirm the cause of death. This result can take up to three months.”

Thomas Ashcroft, of Sheffield, was charged with two counts of committing arson with intent to endanger life.

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