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Teenager bailed over blaze death

A teenager was granted bail today when she appeared in court for the first time charged with the murder of an elderly woman who died after an arson attack at her nursing home.

Irene Herring, 85, was rescued by firefighters from her top-floor, single-occupancy room at Ancaster Court in Hastings Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, on February 1.

She was treated by paramedics and taken to the Conquest Hospital in Hastings where she died the following day.

A post-mortem examination found that Mrs Herring, a non-smoker, died from pneumonia brought on by smoke inhalation.

Rebecca Reasbeck, 18, who was originally arrested on suspicion of Mrs Herring's murder a week after her death, is alleged to have carried out the offence between the dates of January 31 and February 3.

She appeared at Hastings Magistrates' Court today where she was granted bail on the conditions that she does not contact any witnesses or go within 50m of Ancaster Court and must reside at her home address in Upper Park Road, St Leonards.

Reasbeck, who stood in the dock wearing a black coat, wept loudly throughout the brief hearing.

She was told to appear at Lewes Crown Court for a preliminary hearing on January 29 next year.