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Mother, 24, and father, 28, whose four young children died in horrific ‘gas blast’ inferno at their Stafford home are arrested for gross negligence manslaughter

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 08/02/2019 Alexander Robertson For Mailonline
© Thomson Reuters

The mother and father of four young children who died in a 'gas explosion' at their terraced home have been arrested for gross negligence manslaughter. 

Natalie Unitt, 24, and her partner Chris Moulton, 28, leapt from the first-floor window with their youngest child, Jack, two, after the inferno broke out on Tuesday.

The couple's sons, Olly, three, and Keegan, six, died alongside their daughter Tilly, four, and Miss Unitt's eldest child, Riley, eight, who was from an earlier relationship. 

a person holding a baby: Parents Natalie Unitt and Chris Moulton sit behind children killed in fire (left to right) Tilly, who was four, Keegan, who was six, Olly, who was three, and Riley, who was eight. The picture is from 2016 before they had baby Jack, now two, who survived the blaze with his parents

Parents Natalie Unitt and Chris Moulton sit behind children killed in fire (left to right) Tilly, who was four, Keegan, who was six, Olly, who was three, and Riley, who was eight. The picture is from 2016 before they had baby Jack, now two, who survived the blaze with his parents
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Firefighters, police and ambulance crews scrambled to the house in Stafford at around 2.40am, on Tuesday. 

Witnesses reportedly heard mum-of-five Natalie screaming: 'My babies, my babies!' as the fire tore through the family home.

Staffordshire Police confirmed the man and woman were arrested at 1.30pm today. 

In a statement, Staffordshire Police said: 'Officers from Staffordshire Police have made two arrests this afternoon following a house fire in Stafford on Tuesday. 

'Following an update from investigators into the probable cause of the fire we have arrested a 24-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence.

'The arrests were made at around 1.30pm. The man and woman are in custody. This incident has had a huge impact on the community and we understand there will be confusion and a demand for information.

'However, we would urge people not to speculate as to what may have happened and appeal for patience as the investigation continues. We will provide further updates as soon as we are able to.'

a group of people riding on the back of a truck:  Firefighters and police officers formed a guard of honour for the children as they were removed from the scene in Stafford by private ambulances © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited  Firefighters and police officers formed a guard of honour for the children as they were removed from the scene in Stafford by private ambulances a close up of a brick building © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Nicola Glover, headteacher of Castlechurch Primary School where three of the four dead children went, said staff and pupils were 'absolutely devastated'. 

She described Riley as a 'very confident, excitable member of school who came every day full of enthusiasm', while Tilly, who attended the nursery, was a 'happy little girl' who 'loved to read stories, dress up and paint'.

Mrs Glover said Olly, who was also at nursery, was a 'happy, loving boy who loved cuddles'. 

Kim Ellis, head at Marshlands School, where Keegan was a pupil, said he was 'full of fun and mischief with a really endearing smile'. 

a fire truck parked in front of a building: Police officer and firefighters watch as a private ambulance removes the bodies of the children who died in the horrific fire © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Police officer and firefighters watch as a private ambulance removes the bodies of the children who died in the horrific fire

Grieving teachers say children had 'infectious giggles' and loved stories and mischief

a person with collar shirt: Ms Unitt's three eldest children, eight-year-old Riley (pictured), six-year-old Keegan and four-year-old Tilly tragically died in the overnight blaze

Ms Unitt's three eldest children, eight-year-old Riley (pictured), six-year-old Keegan and four-year-old Tilly tragically died in the overnight blaze
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

The teachers of the four children killed say the schools have been left heartbroken by the tragic events of this morning.

Nicola Glover, head teacher at Castlechurch Primary School, said: 'Our entire school community is absolutely devastated by this news.

'Riley was a very confident, excitable member of school who came every day full of enthusiasm.

'He was a caring friend who hated to see anyone hurt or upset and would do his best to help or cheer them up.

'Riley had a great sense of humour and an infectious giggle. He was a very bright and articulate boy who showed interest in all areas and was always keen to ask lots of questions.'

Mrs Glover added: 'Tilly was a happy little girl who loved coming to nursery.

'She was a friendly and caring child who loved to read stories, dress up and paint. Tilly was always proud of her achievements.

'Olly was a happy, loving boy who loved cuddles. He was always happy to come to nursery and loved to be in the role play area with the dolls.'

Kim Ellis, head teacher at Marshlands Special School where Keegan was a pupil, said: 'Keegan was lively, full of fun and mischief with a really endearing smile.

'He loved school and everyone who worked with him loved him. We were all proud of him and the progress that he had made. It is very hard to accept what has happened. '

Both schools said they are offering support to help staff and fellow pupils following the blaze.

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