Woman falls to death in arrest bid
An 18-year-old convicted thief has plunged to her death from the 17th floor of a block of flats in an apparent bid to escape police.
Scotland Yard faces an inquiry from the police watchdog after it emerged officers were attempting to recall her to prison when she fell from a window.
The woman had been convicted in connection with three street robberies in London in 2009, and was out on licence after serving part of her sentence, said Scotland Yard.
Neighbours described how the "friendly" teenager's death was witnessed by children on the estate. Witnesses also said a row could be heard from the flat before she fell. Neighbour Prince Langlais, 42, criticised police for the time it took to cover the woman's body from the public.
"There were kids running around watching the body," he said. "The police could have done their job a bit quicker and better than that. There were young kids out there running up and saying 'look at the body and all the blood'." He described the incident as a "tragedy", adding: "They were very friendly people."
Police arrived at the flat in Mulgrave Road, in Woolwich, south-east London, at 9.30am "to carry out an arrest inquiry". Officers said the woman was alone in a bedroom, with the door half open, when she fell. A man was arrested at the time on suspicion of assisting an offender. He has since been bailed.
Area commander David Zinzan of the Metropolitan Police said: "Firstly, I would like to express on behalf of the Met our condolences to the family and friends of the young lady who tragically died here this morning.
"Formal identification has not taken place but the facts as we know them are shortly before 9.30am this morning two plain-clothed officers from Bromley police station came to Hastings House for routine arrest inquiries in connection with a young lady who was wanted by the Met for recall to prison for robbery offences.
"They were allowed into the premises and our initial investigations show that she was in a room on her own when tragically she fell to her death from the 17th floor."
The incident has been referred to both the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the force's Directorate of Professional Standards.