LONDON // Three bodies have been found in the burnt-out rural mansion of a financially troubled businessman, British police said. Christopher Foster, his wife Jill and their 15-year-old daughter Kirstie were declared missing after a fire gutted their rural house in western England last Tuesday. Police found two charred bodies inside the house last week and said yesterday that one had been identified through dental records as Jill Foster. She had been shot in the head.
The second body belongs to a man who has not yet been identified. Police said a .22-calibre rifle belonging to Christopher Foster was found near the bodies. The third body, which is also unidentified, was found early today. Three horses and four dogs were also found dead at the estate in Maesbrook, 280km northwest of London, and police said they had also been shot. An autopsy on the third body will take place late today or early Tuesday, once it has been removed from the house.
"Due to its position, it will take some time to remove," said detective superintendent Jon Groves of West Mercia Police. He said a forensic archaeologist would visit the site today to advise on recovering the body. Police have said they think the family's sprawling property was set alight in an arson attack. The badly damaged house was too unstable for officers to enter for several days, but on Friday, detectives discovered two bodies inside.
Police said they are keeping an open mind about the circumstances leading up to the deaths and the fire. Detectives are looking into the financial dealings of the 50-year-old businessman, who ran a company that supplied insulation technology to oil rigs. The company, Ulva Ltd, had gone into liquidation, and Mr Foster was facing large bills from creditors and tax authorities. * AP