DERBYSHIRE EXPLOSION LATEST: Neighbours speak of shock as police treat woman’s death in house blast as murder

Aerial view of the scene on Valley View Road in Riddings where a house was destroyed in an explosion

Aerial view of the scene on Valley View Road in Riddings where a house was destroyed in an explosion

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Neighbours on a Riddings street where two people were killed in an explosion have spoken of their shock after police confirmed they are treating the blast as suspicious.

The bodies of Shelley Saxton-Cooper, 45, and her 50-year-old husband Simon were discovered in the bedroom of the burnt out shell of their Riddings home on Sunday.

The scene of the house explosion on Sunday.

The scene of the house explosion on Sunday.

It was initially thought there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the blast, which happened at around 7.30am on Valley View Road.

But police confirmed at a press conference at the scene on Monday afternoon that they were now treating the explosion as suspicious and Mrs Saxton-Cooper’s death as murder.

The latest development in the investigation has sent shockwaves in the neighbourhood where the couple lived.

Kevin Westwood, of Valley View Road, said: “It’s just unbelievable that the deaths are now suspicious, I can’t get my head round it.

Fire crews are lifted closer to the scene of a fire, in Riddings, near Alfreton,

Fire crews are lifted closer to the scene of a fire, in Riddings, near Alfreton,

“I’m stunned to tell you the truth. I can’t believe any of it. They were such a lovely couple as well. Both of them were lovely.

“My partner and I would see them walking their dogs as we walked ours.

“They would always go out of their way to say hello and be friendly.

“Yesterday was a day everybody wants to forget. I think everybody round here just wants to get to the bottom of it now.”

Lee Rhodes, also of Valley Viiew Road, said: “The news is just so surreal, that’s all I can say about it. You don’t expect something like this to happen.

“The last 36 hours have been so surreal, and now this, it’s just so sad.”

Another resident of Vallley View Road, who did not wish to be identified, said: “It’s just terrible, I’m very upset to hear this news. They were such a nice couple and this is very difficult to take.”