COUNTY NEWS: Fire suspect was patient at Sussex hospice

A man arrested on two counts of suspicion of murder following Saturday’s fire at a Sussex hospice was a patient there, it has been confirmed.

Firefighters at the scene. Picture by Eddie Mitchell
Firefighters at the scene. Picture by Eddie Mitchell

Police officers are currently waiting to speak to the 67-year-old suspect, who is too ill to be questioned.

He was initially arrested for arson with intent to endanger life on Saturday but was then further arrested on two counts of suspicion of murder on Sunday (July 12) after two patients, a woman aged 62 and an 81-year-old man who were being treated for smoke inhalation at hospital following the fire, tragically died.

Another patient aged 78 also died on Saturday. Her death is now not believed to be connected to the fire, which broke out at St Michael’s Hospice in St Leonards.

Celia Pyke-Lees, chief executive of St Michael’s Hospice, said: “On the night of the fire our nursing team were true heroines, and we are so grateful to them all for getting all our patients out of the hospice.

“Our main priority now is supporting our patients and their families along with all the hospice staff and volunteers.

“We are incredibly grateful to the residents of Hastings and Rother for their continued support and urge everyone to visit our website and Facebook page for information on supplies and donations required.

The website will also provide ongoing updates on the investigation.”

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