The block where the incident occurred. | Alejandro Sepúlveda

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The National Police are investigating the rape of a woman in Palma yesterday, whose assailant then set fire to her apartment.

The incident was reported at around eleven o'clock in the morning. Thick smoke was emanating from a building on the calle Capità Vila, and a half-naked woman emerged, screaming for help for herself and her seven cats.

A fire crew accessed the apartment by ladder and found that the fire had more or less gutted the dining-room and a bedroom. Medics were able to confirm that there were marks on the woman's wrists consistent with having been tied - it is said by a computer cable. The woman, who was also suffering a panic attack, was rushed to Son Espases Hospital. The cats, meanwhile, were taken care of and given oxygen to aid their revival.

The homicide squad and a forensics team started investigations and were able to say that the fire had been intentional.