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Inquest told Ashley Martin stabbed Billy Hicks before Lincolnshire fire

One-of-three people to die in a house fire was first stabbed in the heart, an inquest opening heard today.  

Three people were found dead after the blaze in Kirton, Lincolnshire, on New Year's Day.

Jay Edmunds, 27, Billy Hicks, 24, and Ashley Martin, 32, all perished in the inferno.

The cause of death for two of the three was smoke inhalation, while Mr Hicks died from smoke inhalation and a stab wound. 

An inquest heard on Monday that Billy Hicks (pictured) was stabbed before the New Year's Day fire

A senior detective said today, at an inquest in Boston, Lincolnshire, that Mr Martin would have been charged with murder had he survived the house fire. 

Mr Hicks and Ms Edmunds were previously in a long-term relationship, but broke up about a year before the incident, making the deaths look like the result of a love triangle gone wrong.

Coroner's officer David Stocking told the inquest that Ms Edmunds, who lived at the property, Mr Hicks and Mr Martin were pronounced dead at the scene. 

The trio were identified by dental records and their respective tattoos and piercings.  

Mr Hicks (left) was previously in a relationship with Jay Edmunds (right), but broke up a year before the fire

Detective Chief Inspector Karl Whiffen said Lincolnshire Police received a call about a domestic incident at the property at 2.56am on January 1.

DCI Whiffen said: 'At the time of the call five people were present at the address. Three of those people have deceased.

'The initial information was that the cause of the fire was deliberate ignition with the use of accelerants that led to a vapour explosion.

'The seat of the fire was a first floor front bedroom. It is believed that Jay Edmunds was in the room and present with her were Billy Hicks and Ashley Martin.

Police said Ashley Martin would have been arrested on suspicion of murder had he survived 

'Had Ashley Martin survived the blaze he would have been arrested on suspicion of murder.'  

The trio were celebrating New Year's Eve at the house with friends Natalie Hall and Rachel Braim, who survived the inferno.   

Ms Hall said a 'complete psycho' had ignited the property in a fit of rage, while a neigbour said the horror begun when a male carrying a jerry can of petrol shouted 'if I can't have you, no one else will'.

A friend of the trio named only Liam said Mr Hicks was hoping to get back together with Ms Edmunds.

Messages poured in on social media platforms in memory of the deceased trio

'We heard that Billy's latest girlfriend had given him the elbow just before Christmas,' he said. 

'He was upset and still grieving over his dad's death and really hoped he and Jay could make it work again.'

Coroner Paul Smith adjourned proceedings for further inquiries until a final hearing that will be heard at a later date.

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