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No further action against pair over house fire that killed four children

Four siblings died in the blaze in Stafford in February last year.

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Firefighters at the scene of a house fire in Sycamore Lane, Stafford, which claimed the lives of four children (Aaron Chown/PA)

Firefighters at the scene of a house fire in Sycamore Lane, Stafford, which claimed the lives of four children (Aaron Chown/PA)

Firefighters at the scene of a house fire in Sycamore Lane, Stafford, which claimed the lives of four children (Aaron Chown/PA)

There will be no further action against a man and a woman arrested following a house fire in Stafford last year in which four children died.

The cause of the fire at the end-terrace property in Sycamore Lane on February 5 2019 was found to have been caused by smoking materials and was deemed accidental, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said.

A 30-year-old man and a woman, aged 26, were initially arrested on suspicion of gross negligence manslaughter on February 8 last year, and later released under investigation.

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Keegan Unitt, left, Tilly Rose Unitt, Olly Unitt, and their older brother Riley Holt, far right, pictured with a younger sibling, second right (Staffordshire Police/PA)

Keegan Unitt, left, Tilly Rose Unitt, Olly Unitt, and their older brother Riley Holt, far right, pictured with a younger sibling, second right (Staffordshire Police/PA)

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Keegan Unitt, left, Tilly Rose Unitt, Olly Unitt, and their older brother Riley Holt, far right, pictured with a younger sibling, second right (Staffordshire Police/PA)

Staffordshire Police said on Tuesday that the Crown Prosecution Service had advised there would be no further action against the pair, after what had been a lengthy and “complex investigation”.

Siblings Riley Holt, eight, Keegan Unitt, six, Tilly Rose Unitt, four, and three-year-old Olly Unitt died in the blaze, which shocked the community.

Their two-year-old brother, named at the time by trustees as Jack, escaped the fire via a first-floor window along with his mother Natalie Unitt and her partner Chris Moulton.

An appeal to help the family was backed by thousands of people, raising more than £30,000, which was put in trust to benefit the youngest survivor.

Detective Inspector Alan Lyford, of Staffordshire Police, who has led the investigation, said: “We appreciate this has been a lengthy process, but it was right and proper that this investigation was a thorough and complex one given the dreadful loss of four young lives.

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Teddy bears close to the scene (Aaron Chown/PA)

Teddy bears close to the scene (Aaron Chown/PA)

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Teddy bears close to the scene (Aaron Chown/PA)

“This tragic case has deeply affected the local community, who have rallied round to support the family.

“We would again like to thank the community for their patience and support.”

The house where the children died has since been demolished and an inquest into the deaths is set to take place later this year.

PA