POLICE investigating the murder of two women in Barnstaple have appealed for help from the public as they attempt to piece together their last hours. Deborah Jones and Donna St John, both aged 35, were found stabbed to death following a fire at Ms Jones

POLICE investigating the murder of two women in Barnstaple have appealed for help from the public as they attempt to piece together their last hours.

Deborah Jones and Donna St John, both aged 35, were found stabbed to death following a fire at Ms Jones' Barnstaple semi at 9am on Sunday morning.

Neil Langmead, Ms Jones' husband, is seriously ill but stable in North Devon District Hospital. Police are guarding him but have not been able to talk to him ..

He was pulled from the Fort Mead Close house by fire fighters on Sunday morning after smoke was seen coming from the property.

Police inquiries have established that the two women, whom they identified by their maiden names at the request of their families, had been out drinking in Barnstaple on Saturday night and at one stage visited the Toko bar.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who saw them during the evening.

The women, accompanied by a man, returned to Fort Mead Close between 2am and 3am on Sunday. It is believed they had problems getting in, due to a forgotten key.

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have seen them outside the property or heard any disturbance.

Detective Inspector Mike West said: "We are satisfied that this is a closed scene confined to the inside of the house and that we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident."

Anyone with information should call the police on 08452 777444 quoting police reference 404 220810.