Parnham House fire: Police end arson investigation

media captionThe stately home was left badly damaged by the fire

An investigation into a blaze which gutted a 16th Century stately home has ended after the building's owner was found dead.

Michael Treichl, 69, who owned Parnham House in Beaminster, Dorset, was arrested on suspicion of arson soon after the fire in April.

He was found dead in Switzerland in June, Dorset Police said.

The force said it had now ended its inquiry into the blaze and was not looking for any other suspects.

About 20 fire crews fought the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of 15 April and took four days to fully extinguish.

No-one was inside the building at the time, police said.

image copyrightCraig Baker/Wiltshire and Dorset Fire Service
image captionIt took four days before the blaze was fully extinguished

Det Chief Supt Mark Callaghan said: "We were very sad to learn of Mr Treichl's sudden death in Switzerland and our thoughts remain with his family at this difficult time.

"I can confirm that... having assessed all the evidence collected by officers as part of this inquiry, Dorset Police has concluded its investigation and is not looking for anyone else in connection with the fire at Parnham House."

image copyrightSarah Smith
image captionParnham House was reportedly renovated by the Treichl family

Mr Treichl was found dead "having suffered severe depression", a family spokesman previously said.

The spokesman said he "enjoyed a long and distinguished career in finance" and added his wife Emma, their two children and his two step-children were "devastated" by his death.

Parnham House and its Grade II listed gardens were bought in 2001 by the Treichl family which undertook major renovations, according to a Dorset Life article.

Much of the current design was created in 1810 by John Nash, an architect who worked on the 19th Century enlargement of Buckingham Palace.

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