‘Jealous boyfriend’ is named as arsonist who died in house blaze after ‘stabbing to death ex-girlfriend and another man’ on New Year’s Day
- Detectives said Ashley Martin, 32, would have been a suspect over the house fire
- Jay Edmunds, 27, and Billy Hicks, 24, also died in the blaze in Kirton, Lincolnshire
- Their families paid tribute to the ‘vibrant’ and ‘loving’ victims of the inferno
One of three people who died in a house fire in the early hours of New Year’s Day is suspected of starting the blaze, police have revealed.
Ashley Martin, 32, has been named as the third person killed in the inferno in Kirton, Lincolnshire, on January 1.
Detectives said Martin ‘would be treated as a suspect’ in the deaths of Jay Edmunds, 27, and Billy Hicks, 24, had he survived the fire.
Earlier reports suggested the other two victims may have been stabbed by a jealous ex-boyfriend who then started the blaze.
The names of Miss Edmunds and Mr Hicks had already been widely reported but their families have today paid tribute.
Billy Hicks (left), 24, and 27-year-old Jay Edmunds (right) died in the fire on New Year’s Day. Police today revealed the third person killed was suspected of starting it
A police source said at the time that detectives were investigating whether a suspect found dead in the house was involved in a love triangle with two other victims.
One source claimed the fire was started by a boyfriend ‘furious that he had been cheated on’.
They said: ‘I’ve heard the guy found out he had been cheated on and went into the house with a jerry can of fuel which he set light to.
‘There was a New Year’s party going on and it was after most people had left that all hell broke loose. He told his girl: “No one else will ever have you. I’ll make sure of that”.’
Jay Edmunds’ family said she was a ‘vibrant, funny, beautiful and loving daughter and sister’.
They said: ‘We are shocked & horrified by the events that have taken Jay from us. Our hearts are broken.
‘Thank you to all our family, friends and local community for their well wishes and support at this devastating time.
‘We would also like to thank to all emergency services that have been involved.’
The family of Mr Hicks said: ‘Billy had a wonderful smile and would always be the life and soul of the party.
‘He was a very caring and loving person with a fantastic sense of humour.
A fire engine on the scene in Kirton after the horrific New Year’s Day blaze which killed three people. Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths
‘Our hearts are broken our family is devastated for him to be taken away from us in such a tragic way. We would like to thank all those involved.’
Police said it had been a ‘complex incident to deal with’, saying formal identification and post-mortems had taken days because of the ferocity of the fire.
Detective Chief Inspector Karl Whiffen said: ‘We can confirm that Ashley Martin would be treated as a suspect in the deaths of Jay Edmunds and Billy Hicks.
‘We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths. ‘A file will be passed to the coroner.
‘However, it is important to note that a coroner’s role is not to apportion guilt or to attribute blame. ‘They will determine essential facts about how each person died.’
The East Midlands Specialist Operations Unit will pass its findings to the coroner before the three inquests.