‘Outgoing and bubbly’: Parents lead tributes to 18-year-old Leah Casson after North Shields fire tragedy

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Police are treating the tragedy that took place in North Shields on Monday as suspected arson and have appealed to the public for help.

The 'devastated' parents of 18-year-old Leah Casson, who died in a tragic North Shields fire on Monday, have paid an emotional tribute to their daughter.

In the early hours of Monday morning, police were called out to assist fire crews as they battled to stop a blaze at an address on Vicarage Street in North Shields. While three people managed to escape the fire, the body of a fourth person was sadly found inside the address.

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While formal identification is yet to take place, officers believe it was 18-year-old Leah Casson who lost her life.

Today (Wednesday) her family issued a tribute, which read: “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.”

Someone claiming to be a family friend has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family of the 18-year-old. Kerry Riches' fundraiser has already raised over £2,500.

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Ms Riches wrote: "Hi my name is Kerry and I am a friend of the family.. they have given me permission to do this fundraiser on their behalf. As you may all have read on social media there was a house fire on Vicarage Street Sunday morning.

"As a result of this terrible incident a young talented girl with a heart of gold has lost her life and the other members of the family were hospitalised. We need our community to pull together to give Leah the send-off she deserves and get the family back into accommodation and help with furnishings, clothing etc.

Leah Casson lost her life in the fire, which is being treated as suspected arsonLeah Casson lost her life in the fire, which is being treated as suspected arson
Leah Casson lost her life in the fire, which is being treated as suspected arson | -

"The money will be sent to a beneficiary who will take care of the designation of funds to ensure that the family get the full benefit of the funds raised, and all their needs will be covered."

Tributes to the 18-year-old have poured in on social media with those that knew her saying Leah was "an angel taken too soon" and an "amazing friend."

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At this stage, the fire is still being treated as a suspected arson, and police are calling on anyone who can aid the investigation to come forward.

The teenager’s parents paid tribute to a “outgoing and bubbly” daughterThe teenager’s parents paid tribute to a “outgoing and bubbly” daughter
The teenager’s parents paid tribute to a “outgoing and bubbly” daughter | -

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.”

If you can help, get in touch via the ‘Tell us Something’ page on the Northumbria Police website, or by calling 101 quoting log NP-20230116-0067.