Police allege women’s death, explosion of Brandon house both intentional

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Photo by; Liam Pattison Photography

Source: Brandon Police Service Media Release

On October 23, 2019, we reported on an explosion that occurred at a residence in the 200 block of Queen’s Ave east on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 7:50 pm.

When police and members of BFES arrived, a perimeter was set up and residences in the neighbourhood were evacuated as a precaution.

As members at the scene detected a strong odour of natural gas, Manitoba Hydro employees also attended to turn the gas off within the hour. The 63-year-old male resident, Robert Hughes, exited the residence on his own once the gas had been turned off. He was later transported by STAR air ambulance to Health Science Centre in Winnipeg with serious injuries. No information regarding the specifics of Mr. Hughes injuries will be provided, as this information will remain confidential in accordance with PHIA (Personal Health Information Act).

Due to the instability of the structure following the explosion, police and emergency workers were unable to enter the scene for several hours, until it could be reinforced by members of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR). Once the building was deemed safe, officers were then able to enter and attend to 63-year-old, Betty Hughes, who was deceased.

Following the explosion, members of BPS Major Crimes Section have continued to investigate in cooperation with the Office of the Fire Commissioner.

The investigation has led police to determine that the death of the Mrs. Hughes was not accidental, but was caused by injuries inflicted on her prior to the explosion. The explosion was also determined to be intentionally set.

On Friday October 25, 2019, BPS Major Crime Section members attended to Winnipeg Health Science Centre where the Mr. Hughes was being released from medical care, and arrested him. On Friday evening, he was brought back to Brandon and lodged at Brandon Correctional Centre. He appeared before a Justice on a charge of 2nd Degree Murder, on October 26, 2019 and was remanded in custody.

As this matter is now before the courts, specific details regarding the death of Mrs. Hughes and the explosion will not be disclosed, as we do not wish to compromise the integrity of the judicial process.

Brandon Police Service would like to offer our condolences to the family of Mrs. Hughes. They will not be offering any public statement regarding this tragedy, and I would ask members of the public and media to respect their privacy during this difficult time.