A MURDER inquiry was tonight (Tue) launched into the death of a man in a blaze in one of Edinburgh’s most upmarket suburbs.
Police named the dead man as 33-year-old Stewart Taylor and revealed that he had suffered a major head injury that was inflicted before the fire started.
It also emerged that Mr Taylor, originally from Aberdeen, was in a relationship with the woman seriously injured in the same incident early on Monday morning.
Detectives confirmed there had been a “disturbance” at the property in Chalmers Crescent at about 7am, followed by a sighting of a middle-aged man driving away in a white van.
He is described as white, of medium build, 5ft 7ins tall, 40 to 50-years-old, scruffy appearance, and wearing a dark three-quarter length jacket, and a dark ‘Beanie’ hat.
A man answering a similar description was also seen acting suspiciously in the area around midnight on Sunday.
Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Blair, who is leading the investigation, said: “We can now confirm that this is a murder investigation.
“The man’s family have been notified but we have not been able to speak to the injured woman and I will not go into the specifics about her injuries.”
He added: “The man had suffered a substantial head injury. The fire has then occurred after the injuries. We cannot confirm that the fire was started deliberately but it is part of the murder investigation.
“The female is in hospital as a result of her injuries which are consistent with an assault. This was a violent attack.”
Asked if the couple were in a relationship, he said: “Yes.” Asked about a motive, he declined to comment.”
Police said Mr Taylor did not live at the flat. They believe the injured woman lived at the property but have not been able to confirm this.
The man seen driving away from the scene was described by the officer as “significant” to the inquiry.
More than 40 officers are currently working on the case and the police cordon is still around the team as search teams continue to look for clues. CCTV experts have been drafted in to scour recordings for information.
DCI Blair added: “We want to speak to anyone who saw the small white van being driven north on Chalmers Crescent or elsewhere in the area around 8am.
“Similarly, we want to speak to anyone saw a man acting suspiciously in the area from midnight into Monday morning.
“We know that a group of men and women had arrived at the block of flats around midnight, and it is possible that they may have saw or heard something that may be of interest to us.
“I would appeal to them to contact police as soon as possible, and I would urge any other members of the public who have any other information that can assist our inquiries to get in touch.
“At this time we have high-visibility uniformed patrols in the area of Chalmers Crescent in order to provide reassurance to local residents, and officers are on hand to speak to members of the public if they have any concerns regarding the