COUNTY NEWS: Man arrested on suspicion of murder after two more residents die following hospice fire

Damage at St Michael's Hospice
Damage at St Michael's Hospice

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after two more residents died following a fire at a Sussex hospice in the early hours of Saturday (July 11), police have said.

Emergency services were called St Michael’s Hospice in Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards, at around 1am.

A 62-year-old woman and an 81-year-old man, who were being treated for smoke inhalation at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings following the fire, have since died.

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: “A 67-year-old St Leonards man, who is known to the hospice, was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

“He has now been further arrested, on Sunday 12 July 12, on two counts of murder.

“Another resident, a 78-year-old woman, also died on Saturday following the fire. It is not clear at this stage whether her death is linked to the fire and an investigation is being carried out.”

Fire, ambulance and police all declared the fire a major incident and 23 residents and nine staff were all evacuated.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Preston of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: “This is an extremely difficult time for the residents and staff of St Michael’s Hospice and for the families of the residents who have sadly passed away.

“We are now treating this as murder and a 67-year-old man arrested on suspicion of arson has now been further arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder.”

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