19/12/2008

Mansion Family Fire Funeral Held

The funeral of a millionaire and the wife and teenage daughter he is believed to have killed is due to take place today.

Businessman Christopher Foster, 50, is believed to have shot dead his wife Jill, 49, and 15-year-old daughter Kirstie, before setting fire to their mansion in Maesbrook, Shropshire, in August.

CCTV footage recovered from the house showed a man, believed to be the 50-year-old, carrying a gun around the property, setting the family's stables on fire before driving a horsebox down the driveway and shooting at its tyres.

Police believe Foster, who ran a pipe insulation firm called Ulva Ltd - which went into administration last year - also killed the family animals, including their horses and dogs.

The mother and daughter’s funeral is due to be held at 11.00am at St John's Church, Maesbrook, while the father’s is expected to be held at 2.30pm at the same church.

The deceased family had decided to bury all three on the same day in adjoining plots, the Diocese of Lichfield said.

"We hope the funerals will provide a dignified opportunity for the families and friends to pay their final respects," a Diocese spokesman said.

However, the process of arranging the funerals is understood to have sparked a feud between Mr Foster's family and relatives of his wife, Jill.

On Sunday Mrs Foster's sister, Anne Giddings, said she wanted Mr Foster to be buried "as far away as possible" from her sister and niece.

She said: "I'm gutted to think that beast will be buried in the same cemetery as my sister and her beautiful daughter. He will be lying right next to them, just a few feet away."

An inquest into the family's deaths has been opened and adjourned, and police have said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

See: Fire Ravaged Mansion Echoes Another Tragedy

(JM)

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