Woman burned to death in lift horror

Published: 19 December, 2011 08:45 IST | Agencies |

A woman has been burned to death by a man who doused her with a flammable liquid and set her alight in an elevator

A woman has been burned to death by a man who doused her with a flammable liquid and set her alight in an elevator.

The unidentified attacker -- reportedly the woman's ex-boyfriend -- was waiting outside the elevator in a Brooklyn, New York apartment block for Delores Gillespie (64), to return to home.

As the elevator doors opened, he sprayed the unsuspecting woman with a flammable liquid, lit a rag in a bottle -- a Molotov cocktail -- and set her on fire, according to New York police.

The horrifying attack lasted a minute and was caught on two surveillance cameras at the 203 Underhill Avenue apartment block.

Gillespie, who had just returned from grocery shopping, turned and crouched in an attempt to protect herself, according to police.

But the man, who was wearing a protective mask on top of his head, sprayed her directly in the face and over her head and body as she retreated to the back of the elevator.

He then pulled out a barbeque-style lighter and used it to ignite a rag in a bottle.

He waited for a few seconds before using the flames to set her alight and throwing the bottle inside the lift.
The attacker ran away, using the staircase, leaving the woman to die in agony. Gillespie was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said they believe the unidentified man, who was 'known to the victim', had been waiting for Gillespie to return home.

"It was apparent he knew she was on the elevator," New York City police spokesman Paul Browne said.

"I've never seen any s*** like this, and I've been doing this a long time," an unnamed detective added.

No arrests have yet been made, but investigators are checking for the suspect at local hospitals after he appears to have sustained burns to his face and hands.

"I'm in shock,' said neighbour Chris Martinez. "We didn't know she had any enemies."

Said another neighbour, "It was high-pitched yelling. The elevator sounded like it was boiling paint," he said.
"You could see the flames in the elevator shaft and hear crackling," Olson added.

Five other people were hurt in the fire, but not seriously injured.

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