Police waiting to quiz man over murders

Post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out on the bodies of two women found murdered following a house fire in Devon.

Firefighters discovered the remains of the victims, both aged 35, on Sunday morning while attending a blaze at a rented property in Barnstaple. Source said they were stabbed prior to the fire.

A 40-year-old man who was badly injured in the incident is being treated as the key suspect. Officers have so far been unable to interview him.

The suspect remained at North Devon District Hospital on Tuesday under police guard. His condition was described as "serious but stable".

It is believed that one of the victims lived at the property in Fort Mead Close. The other was a visiting friend, police said. Neither was formally identified.

Emergency services discovered their murdered bodies after responding to reports of a fire at the property.

Neighbour Josephine Palmer, 84, said: "My carer called the fire brigade because she saw smoke coming from the house. It was at about 9am and they were with us within five minutes. It was very impressive.

"I don't know who the people are though - neighbours aren't what they used to be."

Speaking on Monday, Supt Richard Baker, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "This is a very early stage in the police inquiry and we are still trying to piece together the series of events which preceded this tragedy. We are still in the process of identifying the two bodies, how they came to be there and notifying the two deceased's next-of-kin.

"This is a very unusual incident and we appreciate that the local residents have concerns."

No arrests have as yet been made. Witnesses are asked to contact police on 08452 777444 quoting log 404 220810.