Man held in S. Africa over Sussex girl's fire death

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The Independent Online

A 40-year-old man has been arrested in South Africa over the murder of a six-year-old girl who died in a house fire, police said today.

Dumo Sibanda died on October 26 2004 following a fire at her home in Banks Road, Pound Hill, Crawley, West Sussex.

Members of her family managed to escape the blaze but the little girl was found inside. She was taken to hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said the man appeared in court in Johannesburg on Wednesday where a request for extradition was made. The spokesman added that police are no longer looking for anyone in connection with the incident.

The hearing was adjourned until April 12 and he remains in custody until then.

Police would not confirm whether the arrested man was their prime suspect, George Champion Sithole, who was believed to have fled to Africa shortly after the fire.

In January two detectives from the force's major crime branch travelled to Johannesburg to make a new appeal for information to locate him.