Police in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district sent a suspect to court on September 21 for alleged arson that caused the death of his grandmother on September 19 in Damnark Thom 2 village of the district’s Stung Meanchey II commune.

District police chief Meng Vimeandara said the 29-year-old suspect was referred to court after a thorough investigation.

Stung Meanchey II commune police chief Neng Samoeun said the incident occurred at around 11pm on September 19 on a small road in the village’s Group 4.

He said the suspect’s grandmother, 75, died in the fire. The house was 6m wide and 8m long with a ground floor made of concrete, metal walls and a zinc roof, and was gutted in the fire.

Samoeun said local authorities, together with officers from the municipal police’s Fire Prevention and Rescue Bureau, used five fire trucks and water from three other fire engines to put out the blaze, which lasted more than an hour.

Citing the suspect’s relatives, Samoeun said the man was mentally ill and had a confirmation letter from the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.

“He was very addicted to drugs until he suffered this condition” he said.