St Leonards hospice fire: Murder suspect was patient

Fire damage at St Michael's Hospice Image copyright PA
Image caption Fire broke out in the early hours

A 67-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder after a fire at a hospice was a patient there, managers have said.

Two people died in the blaze, which broke out at St Michael's Hospice in St Leonards, East Sussex, in the early hours of Saturday.

Police are currently unable to question the suspect because of his ill health.

Jill Moon, 62, and David Denness, 81, from Hastings, died in hospital. Tests are continuing to establish the cause of their deaths.

A 78-year-old woman also died after the fire, but her death is not thought to be linked to the blaze.

Police first arrested the man on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, and later on suspicion of two counts of murder.

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption Twenty three residents, some terminally ill, were moved elsewhere

Celia Pyke-Lees, hospice chief executive, said police were still waiting to question the man.

She said: "Our main priority now is supporting the patients and their families along with all the hospice staff and volunteers."

Twenty three patients, some terminally ill, were evacuated from the building and are now receiving round-the-clock care from hospice staff at five other sites.

Ms Pyke-Lees said the hospice nursing team, who got all the patients out of the hospice on the night of the fire, were "true heroines".

A social media appeal for items needed by the patients is continuing.

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