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Woman in court over arson deaths

A woman has been remanded in custody after appearing in court charged in connection with the murders of a woman and her baby in an arson attack on their home.

Melissa Crook, 20, and her 15-month-old son Noah died in the blaze in Chatham, Kent, in the early hours of Saturday.

Emma Smith, 21, appeared at Medway Magistrates' Court charged with conspiracy to murder and arson with intent to endanger life, a spokeswoman for Kent Police said.

Her boyfriend and Mrs Crook's estranged husband, Danai Muhammadi, 23, has already been charged with two counts of murder along with his friend, Farhad Mahmud, 35, of Kensington House, Maidstone.

Both men also face three counts of attempted murder in relation to Mrs Crook's parents and brother, who were injured in the blaze.

Police said her father Mark Crook, 49, remains in a life-threatening condition in East Grinstead Hospital while her mother Amanda Crook, 49, and brother Bohdan Crook, 21, have been discharged from hospital following treatment.

Unemployed Smith, of the Barley Lea, Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry, will appear at Maidstone Crown Court alongside Mahmud and Muhammadi, a car salesman of Britannia Street, Coventry, on Friday.

A fourth person, a 37-year-old man from Coventry, has been released on police bail while inquiries continue.

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