Sussex

Chidham bungalow fire: Couple 'beaten to death', murder police reveal

Maybush Drive in Chidham, West Sussex Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption The couple aged in their 70s died from head and neck injuries

A couple in their 70s whose bodies were found in a burnt-out bungalow died from head and neck injuries, police have said.

Sussex Police believe they were attacked before their home in Chidham, near Chichester, was set alight.

Their bodies were discovered after fire crews put out the blaze on Saturday. A murder investigation is under way.

Detectives are waiting to speak to a man who was taken to hospital with severe burns later the same day.

Sussex Police said he was known to the couple, whose names have not been released by officers, and is "critically ill".

'Tragic'

"It appears the couple were attacked before their home was set alight," said Det Ch Insp Tanya Jones.

"We are waiting to talk to a man who is being treated in hospital for severe burns and we believe this may be connected.

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Police believe a man being treated in hospital for severe burns could be a potential suspect

"He had attended an address in Rotherfield on Saturday lunchtime from where he was transferred to hospital.

"The information we have so far has led us to treat this man, who is known to the couple, as a potential suspect in our investigation."

She described the deaths as a "tragic incident" and said the force was supporting the family of the couple.

"[We] are working with colleagues from the fire service along with forensic and crime scene investigators to establish the circumstances."

Sussex Police initially said the couple who died were aged in their 90s.

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