HORRIFIED neighbours have described the shocking moment they discovered a teenage girl’s burning body in a Blackpool alleyway.
A murder probe was launched after student Sasha Marsden, 16, from Staining, was found in the alley off Kirby Road, South Shore.
Witnesses said they thought a mannequin had been set alight – until they realised it was the body of a girl.
Tributes today flooded in for the “friendly and considerate” teenager (right), who will be “sadly missed”.
A 22-year-old-man and a 20-year-old woman remain in custody, having been arrested on suspicion of murder after the grim discovery at 9pm on Thursday.
Shocked neighbours, last night, described how they saw flames behind their guesthouses, but initially thought a mannequin was being burned.
Emily Roles, 16, who lives on Kirby Road, told The Gazette: “We saw the fire, you could see it from our back door.
“My sister’s fiance went out there and put the fire out – he saw it all.
“He got a bowl of water and put it out. He thought it was a mannequin at first, and afterwards realised it wasn’t. We don’t know who she is. It’s shocking.”
Since the shocking news came out, dozens of friends have shared their memories of the teenager, from Staining, on social networking site Facebook, where thousands of well-wishers have signed a condolence page.
Sasha enrolled at the college last September, having previously been a pupil at Collegiate High School and Bispham High School, and was studying a Level One course in childcare.
Mandy Pritchard, the colleges head of society, health and childhood, said: “Since enrolling with us, she had been making fantastic progress.
“Sasha worked hard and was looking forward to carrying out a work placement and progressing to Level 2 and ultimately a career in childcare.
“She was a friendly, considerate individual who cared about her fellow students.
“Her classmates are understandably upset and the college is offering all the support it can at this difficult time.
“Our thoughts are with Sasha’s family.”
And David Nicklin, assistant headteacher at Collegiate High School, said: “We are very sorry to hear about the sad loss of one of our former pupils.
“Our thoughts at this difficult time are with Sasha’s family and friends.”
Friends posted pictures and shared their memories of Sasha on Facebook, with a page set up in her memory viewed by hundreds of people.
Friend Danielle Louise said: “Rest in peace Nash, gone but never forgotten. Love you millions.”
Amber Louise added: “R.I.P you never deserved what happened to you angel, you were such a good friend to me and many others.
“You will be missed.”
And Emma Borsay said: “I love you so much. You shouldn’t have been taken you’re one of the good ones.”
Residents in South Shore also spoke of their shock at the tragic death, which happened on a quiet street lined with guest houses.
Mick Smith, who lives on Kirby Road close to where Sasha’s body was found, said: “The poor girl was only 16. I’m shocked by it.”
Nathan Bray, 22, who lives in South Shore with 19-year-old Kelly Cleary and their son, said: “We live just down the road and it’s quite disturbing.
“It’s worrying bringing up our little boy around here.”
And Glenys Cunningham, who lives on a neighbouring street, added: “I feel sick thinking about it.”
Supt Eddie Newton, operations manager for Blackpool Police, said: “We immediately applied a very significant amount of resources to this inquiry because we are absolutely determined to establish exactly what’s gone on and bring the offenders to justice. We owe that to the family of the young girl who has died.”
Chief investigating officer, Det Sup Andy Murphy, from the Force Major Investigation Team, said officers were pursuing “clear lines” of inquiry into Sasha’s tragic murder.
He added: “Police officers went to the rear of The Grafton at about 9.15pm and found a 16-year-old girl who had died. We formed the opinion she had been murdered and as a result of these investigations two people were arrested.”
Although two arrests have been made police are still urging people to come forward if they have any information about the incident.
Supt Newton added: “We have two people in custody but it is a complex investigation.”
Anyone with information can contact Blackpool Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.