The Lewisham flat fire which claimed the life of a five-year-old boy is now believed to have been started deliberately, the Met Police said.

Firefighters rescued a 34-year-old woman and two children from the top floor of a block of maisonettes n the edge of the borough, early on Saturday morning.

All three were taken to hospital, where despite the best efforts of the emergency services and hospital staff the child died shortly before 8am.

The woman and a second child, a 14-year-old boy, were injured in the blaze in Russett Way, SE13, between Lewisham and Greenwich in south east London.

The Metropolitan Police said officers do not believe there were any other people inside the address and are ruling out the involvement of a third party.

Detective Chief Inspector Laurence Smith, who is leading the investigation, said: "We've worked extensively at the scene with the London Fire Brigade following this awful incident and can now confirm that the fire inside the address is thought to have been started deliberately.

London Fire Brigade

London Fire Brigade

"Other than the three occupants, we don't believe there were any other persons present inside the address, and are ruling out the involvement of a third party."

He added: "Wider family have been informed and our specialist officers are supporting them as they come to terms with their loss.

"What I need now is for any members of the public who might have information that could assist our investigation to make contact, so that we can increase our understanding of what has led to this tragic incident and provide the family with answers to the questions they are asking.

"No piece of information is too small - please call us immediately."

The woman and children are all related to each other. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course, and officers are not yet confirming the child's identity.

Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters were called to the blaze at about 5.45am on Saturday, according to the London Fire Brigade.

People are asked to call the incident room on 0208 345 3985 with the reference Operation Tampere or CAD1321/06MAR, call 101 or tweet @MetCC. Information can also be provided to Crimestoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111.