Inquest opened into the deaths of four children

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The inquest into the deaths of the four children at the house fire in Stafford on 5 February was opened today.

Family members have identified the children as Riley John Holt, aged eight, Keegan Jonathan Unitt, aged six, Tilly Rose Unitt, aged four, and Olly Unitt aged three.

South Staffordshire’s Assistant Coroner, Margaret Jones, opened the inquest for the children. For each child, she said: “The cause of death is yet to be ascertained.”

Jones added that the inquest would be adjourned until 11 July as investigations into the fire continue.

The inquest comes after the blaze broke out at the home on Sycamore Lane, Stafford during the early hours of the morning on the 5t February.

Survivors of the fire were mother Natalie Unitt, aged 24 years, partner Chris Moulton, aged 28 and their 2-year-old baby boy, locally named Jack.

Natalie, Chris and baby Jack managed to escape from the property prior to the arrival of Police officers and Fire and ambulance services were in attendance by 2:40am.

Both the woman and man received treatment by ambulance staff for non-life-threatening injuries. As a result, they went to Royal Stoke hospital for smoke inhalation and burn treatment.

Stafford’s Conservative MP, Jeremy Lefroy, took to Twitter after the fire to show his condolences. He said: “The deaths of four children at a house fire in Highfields this morning is unbelievably tragic. My deepest sympathies and prayers go to their families.”

A 24-year-old woman and 28-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence on 8 February. The pair are now on bail as the investigation continues.

There has been a strong community response in reaction to the deadly house fire with a JustGiving crowdfunding page. The total has currently managed to reach 98% of its £32,000 target.

The raised money will pay for the funerals of the four children. The remaining funds are to be placed in a trust fund for baby Jack. A board of trustees will watch over the fund.  

A local legal firm is guiding the management of the trust fund.

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