Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008

Funerals held for mansion family

The coffins being taken into church
About 100 mourners attended Mrs Foster and Kirstie's funeral

Three members of a family whose bodies were found in their burnt-out mansion in Shropshire have been buried next to each other.

Christopher Foster, 50, is thought to have killed his wife and daughter before setting fire to the house in Maesbrook and killing himself.

About 100 people were at the funeral of his wife Jill, 49, and daughter Kirstie, 15.

A separate service was held later for Mr Foster.

In a statement, Mr Foster's brother, Andrew, said: "Today we have finally been able to lay Jill and Kirstie to rest in a peaceful and dignified manner.

"We will never come to terms with what has happened and will never understand why Chris took Jill and Kirstie's lives away from them.

"We can only hope and pray that they now rest in peace."

Adjoining plots

All three funerals were held at St John's Church, Maesbrook.

The families made the decision to bury all three on the same day in adjoining plots, the Diocese of Lichfield said.

The two coffins of the mother and daughter, each adorned with pink floral arrangements, were taken into the church followed by the congregation.

Archdeacon Tony Sadler, who led the service, said: "No-one could have predicted such a tragedy as this could happen in the depth of this beautiful Shropshire countryside."

He went on to describe how much Jill and Kirstie had loved living in Maesbrook, after moving to the village four years ago.

Christopher, Jillian and Kirstie Foster
Full inquests into the deaths have yet to be held

Kirstie was a popular girl, he said, who loved horses and had her heart set on studying at the Equestrian College at Gloucester University.

He added: "The sadness of these latest events must not diminish the happiness of their earlier lives together."

The congregation heard that Mrs Foster's family planned to set up a charity trust in Kirstie's memory called the Kirstie Foster Trust to Assist Riding for the Disabled.

Later Mr Foster's coffin, covered with orange and yellow flowers, was followed into the church by his mother, who was flanked by Andrew Foster and his wife and children.

People's imaginations

The archdeacon said: "Sadly, Christopher had not shared his recent financial difficulties with his family and could not bring himself to do so.

"Faced with the tragedy before us, we have each used the few known facts, wretched though they be, and tortured ourselves by imagining the last moments of their lives.

"Some people's imaginations are more vivid than others. Our imaginations are in need of healing. I hope this service will help do that."

After the fire at Osbaston House on 26 August, a post-mortem examination revealed Mr Foster's wife had been shot in the head. It has not been established how Kirstie and her father died.

Police have said they are not looking for anyone else over the deaths.

Inquests have been opened and adjourned to a later date.

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Christopher Foster is believed to have shot them



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