Devon

Barnstaple house fire: Post-mortem tests on bodies

Forensic examinations are continuing at the house in Barnstaple
Image caption Forensic examinations have found no signs of a break-in

Post-mortem examinations are being carried out on the bodies of two women who were found stabbed to death following a house fire in Devon.

Deborah Jones and Donna St John, both aged 35, were found in the house in Barnstaple on Sunday.

Police believe the women were killed in the kitchen and the house then set on fire. Fifty officers are investigating.

Officers are also guarding a 40-year-old man in hospital described as a suspect in the murder investigation.

'Closed scene'

Police from the local area - plus officers from Cornwall, Plymouth and the force's major crimes team - have been working at the scene in Fortmead Close. Forensics officers have found no evidence of a break-in.

Floral tributes have been taken to the rented property by friends and neighbours.

Image caption Flowers have been brought to the scene of the deaths

Senior investigating officer Det Insp Mike West said: "We are satisfied that this is a closed scene confined to the inside of the house and that we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident."

The man being guarded, who has not been arrested, is in a serious but stable condition at North Devon District Hospital. Police have so far been unable to interview him because of his injuries.

Police said that they had established that the women were in Barnstaple town centre from about 2200 BST on Saturday, including the Toko bar.

They were believed to have returned to the house accompanied by a man between 0200 and 0300 BST on Sunday.

Officers have appealed for witnesses.

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