A prank gone wrong could be the explanation behind a fatal explosion in South Harrow, neighbours claim.
Residents believe the same girl gang that poured a blackcurrent juice drink through the letterbox of 21 Stanley Road nine hours before it exploded must have tampered with an external gas meter and unwittingly switched on the flow.
This had chilling consequences as the detonation on Wednesday May 7 killed Emmad Qureshi, 26, and left two others injured, including 17-year-old Charlotte Anderson, a tenant at number 21.
Police have refused to comment on the theory as their investigation continues.
Artist Dan Llywelyn Hall, 27, who lived resided opposite, told the Observer: "The rumour is that somebody unintentionally activated some sort of gas supply which caused the explosion.
"That's the only possibility. I don't see how else it could have occured.
"We, as neighbours, believe that. I know that people who live near think that."
The theory goes that gas somehow continually seeped underneath the floorboards until it ignited at 9.40pm.
The Metropolitan Police have previously confirmed a large volume of gas passed through the meter on the day of the incident but pointed out that the property did not have a gas supply and the meter was not in use.
This adds credence to the explanation that the gang of females tampered with a handle on the external meter - which was located next to the front door in small box.
Several properties have the same arrangement, including that of survivor Phil Redmond, whose family had to evacuate from their now-demolished home at number 25.
He said: "In the boxes outside there's a lever, probably an on/off switch. I know there was no door on the box outside 21, but you can open the door by hand anyhow.
"There's a possibility the girls had tried to turn off the gas for her [Ms Anderson], depriving her of hot water, for instance, and they actually turned it on by mistake.
"We have had no information from the police. We'd like our minds put at rest."
A spokesman for the police said detectives were awaiting the results of the scientific examinations of the meter and piping recovered from the scene before making further comment.
He added: "As regards the females, they have never been arrested. They were spoken to but were treated as witnesses."
Following further questions from the Observer over the apparent lack of developments and the Met's commitment to the case, a second police spokeswoman responded: "We don't go into details. Some investigations take longer than others.
"We have to be satisfied that sufficient enquiries are conducted. We have to have a thorough investigation."