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WOMAN SET ON FIRE

After quarrel over money with lover

By Richard Charan South Bureau

Melinda Weekes was set on fire yesterday, by a man she loved, after an argument over money. Weekes, 32, ran burning from her house, and collapsed on the street.

The fire was put out by a passing motorist, who used his shirt to smother the flames.

Weekes, a real estate agent, suffered burns over at least 90 per cent of her body and was last night in the Intensive Care Unit of the San Fernando General Hospital.

Police were told her prognosis is grim.

Crime scene officers blocked the street where Weekes collapsed to remove burnt chunks of her body which fell off as she ran.

The attack happened around 3.30 p.m. at the family's house at New City Street, Marabella.

Weekes's two daughters, aged eight and 12, witnessed the man pour paint thinner on her body and set her alight. The suspect ran off, but was contacted on his cellphone by a police sergeant who knows him.

The suspect told the officer he would surrender, but only after he purchased a roti and ate. He never showed up at the Marabella Police Station and a search was on last night.

Neighbours said Weekes and the suspect were often heard arguing and the man threatened violence in the past.

ASP Zamsheed Mohammed and Sergeant Anthony Charles are investigating the incident.

The attack on Weekes is similar to the one at Dandy Lane Extension, Siparia, on Wednesday. Home owner Susan Soogrim, 36, was allegedly set on fire after gasoline was poured on her.

Soogrim has burns covering 75 per cent of her body and is also being treated at the ICU of the San Fernando General Hospital.

That day, police discovered the remains of 17-year-old Octavia Arlene Charles on a pyre of burnt tyres near a house at South Oropouche. She had been missing for almost two weeks.

How she was killed is unknown.

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