Stafford house fire: Cause of death not yet known, inquest hears

By Jordan Reynolds | Stafford | Crime | Published:

The cause of death of the four children killed in a house fire in Stafford has yet to be established, an inquest heard.

Keegan, Tilly, Olly, and Riley, all died in the fire. Baby brother Jack survived

Riley John Holt, aged eight, Keegan Jonathan Unitt, six, Tilly Rose Unitt, four, and Olly Unitt, three, died in the fire in Sycamore Lane, Highfields, on February 5.

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Assistant coroner Margaret Jones, from Staffordshire Coroner's Court, opened the inquests into their deaths at Burton Town Hall this morning and adjourned them to a provisional date of July 11.

She said all four children have been identified but the cause of their deaths is "yet to be ascertained".

The damaged house after the fatal fire

The children's mother Natalie Unitt, 24, her partner Chris Moulton, 28, and two-year-old Jack all survived the blaze after escaping through a first-floor window.

They were taken to hospital in Stoke but have all now been discharged, police confirmed on Friday.


The couple did not attend the brief two-minute hearing today.

A man and a woman, aged 28 and 24 respectively, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence in Stoke on Friday afternoon but have since been bailed.

Some of the floral tributes left in memory of the young victims

Their arrests followed an update from investigators into the likely cause of the fire, Staffordshire Police said.


The force also confirmed that a boiler defect and a cannabis factory were not the cause of the fire after rumours were circulating in the local area.

Meanwhile, more than £31,000 raised for the family of the four children will largely be used to support their surviving brother, it was revealed yesterday.

The trustees of fund said their immediate priority was to make sure money is made available to support any funeral and memorial costs, but the trustees said much of the costs were likely to be met by Stafford Borough Council and funeral directors.

Jeremy Lefroy, MP for Stafford, paid tribute to the emergency services and the community who handled the situation "incredibly sensitively" in Parliament this week.

Jordan Reynolds

By Jordan Reynolds
Reporter - @jreynolds_star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star.

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