Fernhust fire death prompts murder investigation

Fire in Fernhurst
Image caption Neighbours described Michael Griffiths as "a wonderful, wonderful man"

A murder investigation has been launched after a man's body was found following a house fire in West Sussex.

Firefighters were called to the house in Old Glebe in Fernhurst at about 07:40 GMT on Thursday.

Sussex Police said the body of the man, believed to be 59-year-old Michael Griffiths, was lying by the front door, blocking entry to his home.

Det Ch Insp Jeff Riley said the cause of the fire was being treated as unexplained

Investigators said there was a "suspicious seat of fire" near a window in the lounge at the rear of the house.

"Additionally, a couple of windows appeared to have been opened before the fire took hold," Mr Riley said.

'Wonderful, wonderful man'

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said the house had been "seriously damaged" in the blaze.

Neighbour Ken Young said the fire was very intense.

"I looked in the window and it was absolutely horrendous. I didn't attempt to go in," he said.

"We banged and banged on the door but we couldn't raise him but the fire was so ferocious.

"Michael was a wonderful, wonderful man, there isn't anything he wouldn't have done for us."

A post mortem examination is under way and the results are expected to be released on Saturday, police said.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites