Two bodies found in blaze mansion

Two bodies have been found in the burnt out home of millionaire businessman Christopher Foster, police said today.

Mr Foster, his wife Jill and their 15-year-old daughter Kirstie have been missing since a blaze gutted the house in the early hours of Tuesday.



West Mercia Police said two bodies were found in the main part of Osbaston House, Maesbrook, Shropshire.

Superintendent Gary Higgins said: "We can confirm that two bodies were recovered last night from the main part of Osbaston House, Maesbrook.

"The remains will be examined by a Home Office pathologist and post mortems are due to be carried out later today to establish the cause of death."



He said it was not possible to give further details.



The Shropshire coroner has been informed.



Officers entered the main part of the building yesterday morning but were forced to withdraw "almost immediately" after debris began to fall.



They left the building for their own safety, but were able to re-enter in the afternoon following more work to shore up the structure.



The search for a third body will continue today.



Supt Higgins said it could take several weeks to complete the examination and sifting of debris inside the building.



"It is going to be a painstaking and lengthy process before the full examination of the house and its surrounds is completed," he said.



"In the meantime, we will keep an open mind concerning what we may, or may not find."



Police said the premises were deliberately set alight.



The Fosters went to a friend's barbecue on Monday before returning to their home later that evening.



It has been reported that Kirstie may have been talking online to friends in the hours before the fire, which destroyed a stable block, garage and badly damaged the house itself.



A spokeswoman for West Mercia Constabulary said police were looking at Kirstie's computer.



Police have refused to comment on reports that bullet cartridges and pools of blood were found in the courtyard.



A man who knew Mr Foster said he feared his former business associate may have "just flipped".



Terence Baines, a former director of Mr Foster's company Ulva Ltd, said: "It's anyone's guess, but it seems that the people he owed money to are big companies and I can't see them behind something like this."



Speaking from his home near Tamworth, Staffordshire, Mr Baines, an accountant, speculated that maybe Mr Foster "just flipped because the pressure of it was too much for him".



He added: "He was just an ordinary everyday chap, well-dressed, a good businessman."



The horses found dead at the scene have now been examined and post-mortem examinations on them are complete, with police awaiting the results.



Detectives confirmed the bodies of three dogs were found close to the horses and said a large horse box parked close to the gates of the property had been removed for forensic examination.



Mr Foster, who made his fortune developing insulation technology for oil rigs, was earlier this year branded "bereft of the basic instincts of commercial morality" by a High Court judge.



Court documents show that Mr Foster's company, Ulva Ltd, which had gone into liquidation, faced legal action from one of its suppliers for thousands of pounds, and also owed about £800,000 in tax.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: "I'm not surprised because of all the rumours.



"They were at a barbecue on the Monday and then the daughter was on the internet until 1am. It's very tragic. I would not be shocked if they found a third body.



"The police said they had got all the ports on alert and nothing came of that, there's been no sighting of them.



"You tend to think then, it's a process of elimination."



An 85-year-old neighbour who did not wish to be named, said she was shocked by the news.



The woman said: "I did not think they would find them in there. It's very upsetting.



"I did not think they would find any bodies. I thought maybe they had gone away. It's terrible."



Forensic experts could be seen searching what remains of the house and its grounds today.

The bright white overalls of the search team were a stark contrast to the thick black soot covering the estate.



What looked like a white forensic tent could be seen inside the ruins of the main house and another tent was visible in the grounds of the property.



The burnt out remains of the family's five cars were still visible in what remains of the family's garage.

In a statement read at the scene today, Supt Higgins said the two bodies had not been formally identified and DNA tests may be used.

"There are a range of techniques that will help us," he added.



He could not say if those dead were male or female or give any idea of their age.



"We must stress that the Foster family still remain unaccounted for," he added.



A police spokeswoman said the incident was still being treated as arson and was not a murder inquiry.

When asked by reporters, she said a murder investigation could not be "ruled out or ruled in".



"When we have the cause of death we will know a bit more," she said.



Detectives are hoping to establish a cause of death on Monday, with formal identification taking place in the following days.



She said the genders of the bodies would not be confirmed today.



Up to 100 officers are working on the investigation. "It is a very large site," she said. "There is an awful lot to do."



Special prayers will be said for the Foster family at a church service in Maesbrook tomorrow.



The service will take place St John's Church at 10am and is open to members of the public and the media.





Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup