Page last updated at 06:35 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 07:35 UK

Search for arson mansion daughter

Kirstie Foster
Kirstie Foster was chatting to friends online hours before the blaze

Police sifting through the burnt-out remains of a millionaire businessman's mansion are continuing their search for his missing teenage daughter.

Kirstie Foster, 15, was chatting to friends online four hours before her Shropshire home was set alight.

The bodies of her mother Jillian Foster, 49, and an as-yet-unidentified man were found in the ruins of Osbaston House in Maesbrook.

Kirstie's father Christopher Foster, 50, also remains unaccounted for.

Further tests were being carried out to establish the identity of the dead man and to discover the cause of his death.

Supt Gary Higgins of West Mercia Police said: "Clearly we will be seeking to establish whether it is the body of Christopher Foster."

Mansion murder police briefing

Post-mortem tests revealed Mrs Foster had been shot in the head prior to the blaze which was deliberately started at about 0500 BST last Tuesday.

Three horses and four dogs were also found dead in different parts of the house. All had been shot, police revealed.

The body of one of the dogs was found inside the mansion while the other animals were discovered in outbuildings.

Supt Higgins said: "The two bodies were found close to one another and the body of a dog was found nearby."

Officers have recovered a .22 rimfire rifle from the scene and a number of spent and unspent gun cartridges have also been found.

Tests were being carried out to establish whether the rifle, which was legitimately owned by Mr Foster, was the murder weapon.

Search teams had been forced to leave the main part of the house on Saturday night for safety reasons.

Christopher and Jillian Foster
Christopher Foster's gun was found near his wife's body

"Concerns were raised for the safety of those in the building and the walls of the house had begun to lean in towards where search and forensic teams were working," Supt Higgins said.

But late on Sunday afternoon police said the search had resumed "some hours ago".

Prayers for the family were held on Sunday at Maesbrook Parish Church.

The Reverend Prebendary David Austerberry said police faced a "difficult and harrowing time" to discover what happened.

He said: "The events which have unfolded in our village this week have bewildered and stunned many people - not only in this community, but throughout the country.

"It's hard to grasp exactly what has happened."

The Fosters were last seen the night before the blaze at a friend's barbecue and Kirstie had been online until about 0100 BST on the morning of the fire.

Mr Foster made his fortune developing insulation technology for oil rigs.

Court documents show that his company, Ulva Ltd, which had gone into liquidation, faced legal action from one of its suppliers for thousands of pounds and also owed about 800,000 in tax.

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