Sudbury: Discovery of woman’s body leads to a seven-hour chemical leak alert

Salisbury Terrace - Sudbury

Salisbury Terrace - Sudbury - Credit: Archant

Neighbours have spoken of their shock after the discovery of a woman’s body led to a seven-hour chemical leak alert.

The drama unravelled after police officers were called to a house on Salisbury Terrace in Sudbury at around 4pm on Saturday. Shortly after, a police cordon was set up to prevent pedestrians accessing the area and adjoining Beaconsfield Road was closed off due to what police say were “concerns about the safety of the property”.

People living nearby reported that they were told there was a “suspected chemical leak“ and that they should stay inside and keep their doors and windows closed.

Fire crews from Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds and Ixworth stations were called to the scene as was an ambulance team. Some of the crews were reported to be wearing protective clothing.

It is believed police found the body of the woman in the house and nearby a container with wording on it indicating the contents were poisonous. Unable to identify the contents, officers declared a chemical incident at the scene and cordons were put in place.


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These weren’t lifted until at least close to midnight on Saturday after which the police declared the scene safe and said there had been no risk to the public. The womans’s death is currently being treated as unexplained and at this stage there are not thought to be any suspicious circumstances.

Yesterday, people living near the quiet town centre lane spoke of their shock at the events.

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One neighbour said: “I came back from town and the lane was cordoned off. A police officer said there were safety concerns with the house at the end of the terrace and told me to keep the doors and windows closed. They were there until quite late but they went about their business quietly.”

In nearby Beaconsfield Road, where St Joseph’s Catholiic Primary School is located, a woman, who asked not to be named, described the scene as “a hive of activity”.

She said: “I looked out of my back gate and there was an ambulance and two fire engines, and the road was cordoned off.

“A policeman told me they thought there might be a chemical leak at the house on the corner. They were there until late and had floodlights on near the house.

“The ambulance must have left at around 7pm but at least one fire engine was still there at 11pm because my son could see it from his bedroom.”

A police spokesman said a report on the woman’s death was being prepared for the coroner.

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