Arrest in hunt for killer of mother and baby

POLICE investigating the deaths of a woman and her baby daughter arrested a 21-year-old man yesterday on suspicion of murder.

The man, who is believed to be Anthony Marsh – the partner of the dead woman and the baby's father – was detained in Fareham, Hampshire, yesterday morning.

The arrest follows the discovery of the bodies of Stephanie Bellinger, 24, and eight-month-old Lily in Totton, Hampshire, on Saturday morning. Earlier, police named Mr Marsh as the suspect in the killings.

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A spokesman said: "Officers are not currently looking for anyone else in connection with the investigation."

A post mortem examination found Miss Bellinger died from multiple stab wounds. A post-mortem has not yet been conducted on the body of the baby.

The family of Miss Bellinger yesterday released a statement through police, which read: "Stephanie was a fun-loving free spirit who was always happy and smiling. Stephanie was a wonderful daughter, sister, aunt and mother."

It went on: "Lili was a bouncing, happy little baby who was a delight to be with, a little chatterbox who brought joy to our lives.

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"There are no words to describe how we, as a family, are all feeling. We now have a huge hole in our lives which we have to try and come to terms with."

On Sunday the mother of Marsh, who has suffered from depression, made an emotional plea for him to come forward.

At a Press conference, Wendy Marsh struggled to speak and passed her statement to a family liaison officer as she collapsed in tears.

Yesterday the house where the bodies were found remained cordoned off by police. Marsh is being questioned by detectives.