Tees

Murder inquiry after Redcar fire kills man and girl

Jessica and Catriona Braithwaite
Image caption Catriona (right) is critically ill after the fire that killed her sister Jessica (left) and father

A murder inquiry has begun after a seven-year-old girl and her father died in a house fire.

Philip Braithwaite, 49, and his daughter Jessica, seven, died after a blaze at their home in Hawthorn Road, Redcar, on Monday.

Cleveland Police now believe the blaze was started deliberately and said a 51-year-old woman was assisting them with "witness statements".

No-one else is being sought in connection with the fire, police said.

Mr Braithwaite's other daughter, Catriona, nine, is in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Hull.

'Heart-wrenching'

Police said the fire was started in lounge of the house and that it spread quickly.

Mr Braithwaite and Jessica were on the first floor. Officers are carrying out vehicle searches, house-to-house interviews and analysing CCTV footage.

Det Sgt Paul Husband said: "I would like to thank members of the public who have assisted us with this investigation so far.

"Our thoughts are constantly with the family, this has been such a tragic and heart-wrenching event."

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