TV presenter is arrested after finding his fiance dead in bath

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Mark Speight, a popular presenter of BBC children's programmes, was arrested yesterday in connection with the "unexplained" death of his fiance.

Natasha Collins, 31, an actress who appeared on television shows alongside Mr Speight, was found dead by her fianc on Thursday afternoon in the bath of their shared flat in St John's Wood, north-west London.

Mr Speight was released on police bail until the first week of February on suspicion of murder and supplying cocaine.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed the death was being treated as unexplained. It is suspected that Ms Collins died from an overdose or heart failure brought on by drugs. Police are thought to be waiting for toxicology evidence to establish the cause of death.

Mr Speight's solicitor, Nabeel Sheikh, said: "Mark has been questioned by the police on account of the fact that the body of his fiance, Natasha Collins, was found in the flat they shared.

"At the moment no one knows what happened. Mark found her body in the bathroom and immediately called an ambulance and the police.

"Mark was the only other person in the flat and has therefore been questioned by police as a matter of course. He is assisting police with their inquiries and had nothing to do with Natasha's death."

Mr Speight, 42, is best known as the presenter of SMart, a BBC arts programme for children, now in its 14th year. He has just finished appearing as Buttons in a pantomime at the Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.

The couple had been together for about four years. They are thought to have met on the set of the BBC1 programme See It Saw It, in which they appeared together.

Clive Doig, managing director of the independent company Brechin, which made the show for three years from 1998, said: "She was one of the three main actors on the series. She was a very good young actress and she was a lot of fun working with us. She was See, a court jester to the king, played by Mark Speight. I'm shocked to hear of her death. It's terribly sad."

Ms Collins had made other television appearances, including small roles in the ITV drama Real Women and the BBC children's drama The Tenth Kingdom. Ms Collins's agent, Mark French, told Sky News: "They always went everywhere together. They were just a really fun couple who were fantastic together. This is a very tragic loss for us all."

Mr Speight, a qualified graphic artist from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, came to fame as presenter of the ITV children's show Scratchy & Co. He also featured in a series of five programmes for BBC1's Heaven and Earth show, and joined Rolf Harris live in Trafalgar Square to help recreate Constable's The Haywain on a gigantic scale.