Family pay tribute to 'bubbly' Leah Casson, 18, who died in suspected North Shields arson attack

Leah Casson was described by her family as an "outgoing, bubbly young woman". Credit: Family handout

The parents of an 18-year-old woman who died in a suspected arson attack have said they "can't believe she has gone".

Although formal identification is yet to take place, police believe it was Leah Casson who died in the fire in North Shields during the early hours of Monday 16 January.

Her family has now shared photographs of the teenager and paid tribute to her.

In a statement, they said: "As a family we are totally devastated by what has happened.

"Leah was an outgoing, bubbly young woman who we loved so much, and we can’t believe she has gone.

"Please let us grieve for her as a family and respect our privacy at this time."

Although formal identification is yet to take place, police believe it was Leah Casson's body found in the fire. Credit: Family handout

Northumbria Police was called to assist fire crews as they fought to stop a fire at a house on Vicarage Street, North Shields.

Three people managed to escape the fire, which officers are treating as a suspected arson.

Police are calling on anyone with information to come forward as their investigation continues.

Detective inspector Louise Jenkins, the senior investigating officer, said: "Our thoughts are with Leah’s friends and family at this incredibly difficult time.

"Not only have they sustained injuries themselves and lost their home, but they have to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, and we’d ask their privacy is respected while they grieve.

"Our investigation remains ongoing and will do so until we can establish exactly what happened, and how Leah came to pass away.

"We are not ruling anything out and are currently treating the incident as suspected arson, but are asking anyone who has information or who thinks they can assist us, to come forward."

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