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Police hunting an arsonist were last night continuing their search after a 14-year-old girl died in a house fire in Essex over the weekend. Gulnar Shah died early on Sunday, 24 hours after an arsonist set fire to her home in the middle of the night. She was rescued from the burning house in Ilford, but died in a special hospital unit in Peterborough. Her parents and 10-year-old sister were treated for smoke inhalation.

Scotland Yard said there were signs that an accelerant such as petrol or paraffin was poured through the letterbox. "It leads police to believe the fire was a deliberate act," a spokesman said.