Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Bruce George Peter Lee

A Sighting

In the absence of any information about the Hastie fire from the local community, Police had only one other major line of inquiry. This arose from an anonymous phone call received by officers at the central police office in Hull the day after the fire. The caller reported seeing two men running away from the direction of No.12 Selby Street around the same time that the fire had started. He hadn't noticed any sign of fire, but he had seen two men run to a Rover 2000 car parked nearby, and then be driven away by a third man.

A Similar Rover 2000
A Similar Rover 2000

Police quickly traced the call to a nearby pay phone and managed to apprehend the informant as he was walking away. He repeated his story at the police station, giving detailed descriptions of the two men.

The scenario described fitted with another possible motive. The house next door to the Hasties' was known to be a base for drug dealers. Perhaps the arsonists had set fire to the wrong house. Certainly the description of the car at the time a relatively upmarket saloon model was kind a successful drug dealer might conceivably own, and the involvement of several men including a getaway driver suggested a more organized attack.

Detectives also bore in mind the comments of a forensics investigator, who had remarked at the scene that the fire appeared to be the work of someone with experience of starting fires.


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