COUNTY NEWS: Murder investigation launched following fatal fire

A murder investigation has been launched into the couple's death. Pics Eddie Mitchell
A murder investigation has been launched into the couple's death. Pics Eddie Mitchell

A murder investigation has been launched after a couple were found dead in their bungalow on Saturday morning following a fire.

The post mortem for the couple, who have not been formally identified, took place yesterday and revealed they both died from neck and head injuries caused before the fire, police said.

A huge number of firefighters and police attended

A huge number of firefighters and police attended

Emergency services were called to the fire, in Maybush Drive, Chidham, near Chichester, at 8.35am. The couple were believed to have been in their 70s.

Detective chief inspector Tanya Jones from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: “We are treating this as a murder investigation and are following several lines of enquiry. It appears the couple were attacked before their home was set alight.

“We are supporting the family of the couple who we believe have died in Chidham and are working with colleagues from the fire service along with forensic and crime scene investigators to establish the circumstances.”

“We are waiting to talk to a man who is being treated in hospital for severe burns and we believe this may be connected.

“He had attended an address in Rotherfield on Saturday lunchtime from where he was transferred to hospital.

“The information we have so far has led us to treat this man, who is known to the couple, as a potential suspect in our investigation.

“He has not been arrested as he remains critically ill in hospital.”

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were called to the property at 8.35am to reports of the bungalow alight.

A man and woman, now understood to be in their 70s, were found in the property and were declared dead at the scene.

DCI Jones added: “This is a tragic incident and we are appealing to anyone in the area who might have seen or heard anything suspicious in Maybush Drive between 9am on Friday and 8.35am when the fire started on Saturday morning.”

Chief Inspector Justin Burtenshaw, district commander for Chichester, added: “We want to do all we can to reassure the local community and have neighbourhood policing team available in Chidham to speak to residents about their concerns.”

Anyone with information to contact police on quoting Operation Glengarry.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.