Manchester

Bolton house fire 'murder-suicide' theory probed

Bolton house fire
Image caption A joint police and fire investigation continues into the cause of the blaze

A house fire that killed three people may have been started by one of those that died as part of a murder-suicide bid, detectives have said.

The theory is one line of inquiry in the police investigation into the "suspicious" blaze in Albert Road West, Heaton, Bolton, early on Monday.

Dolleh Joseph, 74, died after being rescued from upstairs. Two bodies were later found in the kitchen downstairs.

A post-mortem test found Mrs Joseph died from smoke inhalation and burns.

The two bodies found in the kitchen have not yet been formally identified.

'Keeping open mind'

A middle-aged couple who lived at the house have been named locally as Hassan and Mona Rafie, originally from Iran.

It is believed Mrs Joseph was a relative staying with them.

Greater Manchester Police said the force had received no information of any threat to the family and detectives are not looking for anyone else in connection with the fire.

Fire chiefs said the blaze is likely to have started in the kitchen but spread to most of the house.

Det Ch Insp Phil Reade said officers were "keeping an open mind about what could have gone on".

"It's important to stress that we do not know with absolute certainty who the two other people are who tragically lost their lives."

He added that detectives were "investigating how the fire started, whether it was deliberate and if so, who started it".

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