A man suspected of murdering two women in Barnstaple is under police guard in hospital as officers wait to question him. The women s bodies were discovered following a fire at a rented property in Fort Mead Close at around 9am yesterday (Sunday) morning.

A man suspected of murdering two women in Barnstaple is under police guard in hospital as officers wait to question him.

The women's bodies were discovered following a fire at a rented property in Fort Mead Close at around 9am yesterday (Sunday) morning. A third person was taken to North Devon District Hospital with unknown injuries.

A police cordon around the address in the quiet cul-de-sac is still in place as forensic investigators carry out a detailed examination of the property.

During a press conference at the scene today (Monday) Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendant Steve Carey said: "We have a suspect in hospital.

"It's very early days but we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident.

"It appears to be a very rare and isolated incident, but a very tragic one. The identity of the bodies has not yet been confirmed and I am unable to release details but officers are speaking to family members at this time."

He said the three were known to each other and a major inquiry had begun, as detectives from the Devon and Cornwall Police Major Crime Investigation Team worked to establish the facts of what had happened.

A further police press statement said the suspect was a man aged in his mid 30s and was not under arrest but had been placed under police guard. His condition is described as serious but stable, although no details of his injuries have been given.

Police have appealed for anyone who may have been in the area of Fort Mead Close in Barnstaple on Sunday morning at around 9am to get in touch.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious should also contact the police on 08452 777444, quoting log 404 220810.