Page last updated at 20:23 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 21:23 UK

Third body removed from mansion


One of the bodies has been identified as Jill Foster

A third body found in the remains of a millionaire businessman's mansion has been taken away by police.

The bodies of Jill Foster, 49, and an unidentified man were found in the ruins of Osbaston House in Maesbrook, Shropshire, days after Tuesday's blaze.

Kirstie Foster, 15, and her father Christopher, 50, are unaccounted for.

The remains of a third person, which were found on Sunday evening, were removed from the site after a long operation by officers.

Detectives have said they are treating the case as a murder inquiry.

Post-mortem expected

A post-mortem examination can now be carried out on the third body, which is expected to be identified as Kirstie Foster.

Police removed the body after a long and meticulous process and enlisted the help of a forensic archaeologist to give them expert advice.

Christopher, Jillian and Kirstie Foster
The family have not been seen since Osbaston House burnt down
Post-mortem tests revealed Mrs Foster had been shot in the head prior to the blaze, which police said was started deliberately at about 0500 BST last Tuesday.

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

Officers said the cause of death for the second body, believed to be a man, still had to be established, along with the dead person's identity.

Three horses and four dogs were also found dead in the house and its outbuildings. All had been shot.

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.

Kirstie wrote on her page on the social networking site Bebo that her horses were her "life" and posted dozens of pictures of her with the animals.

Image showing layout of house and where first two bodies were found

Friends of hers have been leaving messages on her page.

One friend, Chloe, wrote: "I can't belive that one of the bodys was your mam. RIP Jill Foster. I hope that the other body isnt your dad."

Another friend called Lucy added: "Forever in our hearts, once there forever in our lives."

Kirstie's head teacher at Ellesmere College Brendan Wignall said it would be "inappropriate to comment" at the moment.

'Deeply concerned'

In a statement, he said: "We are awaiting confirmation of identity from West Mercia Constabulary; despite the obvious speculation, I feel that it would be inappropriate to comment further until facts had been confirmed by the authorities.

"We are all deeply concerned about this latest development in the ongoing investigation."

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

The Reverend Prebendary David Austerberry said the local community had been "bewildered and stunned" by what had happened.

Det Supt Jon Groves, of West Mercia Police, said the search and examination of the property could take weeks.

He said: "I am grateful for the continued support of those living in the area.

"Our thoughts remain with the families of Chris, Jill and Kirstie Foster and we will follow up every possible line of inquiry to establish what happened at Osbaston House in the early hours of Tuesday."

Flowers have been laid near the scene, including some from one of Kirstie's friends with a note saying: "School will never be the same without you."

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