A MURDER investigation has been launched by police after a man was killed when his flat erupted into flames.
Detectives yesterday (Wednesday) confirmed white spirit had been used as an accelerant to start the blaze which killed Littlehampton man Terry Davies at his home in South Terrace.
The fire sparked at a block of flats, at 12.47am on Thursday, September 12, and forced firefighters to rescue a number of Mr Davies’ neighbours.
The inferno was originally believed to have been caused by an electrical fault. But police are now treating it as arson and therefore murder.
Detective Inspector John Wallace, from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “We now believe this fire to have been started deliberately after fire investigators found evidence of accelerant just inside the front door to the building. We are hoping someone can remember something from that night that will help give us a clue to what happened.
“Did you see anyone acting suspiciously shortly before midnight or during the time of the fire or do you know of any reason why that building would have been targeted? We have now spoken to all the people who lived in the flats at the time but are hoping members of the public will be able to help us with our enquiries.
“A young man lost his life that night because someone started that fire in the property, a fire which could have cost the lives of the other occupants who had to be rescued by firefighters. We need to find who was responsible. We are appealing to anyone who may hold any information, however small, which will help us with our enquiries and bring justice to Terry’s family.”
Mr Davies, a former pupil at the Georgian Gardens Primary School, in Rustington, and at the Palatine School in Worthing, worked as a cashier at the new Morrisons supermarket, in Wick.
Terry’s heartbroken mother Mitzi Price, of Sheep Fold Avenue, Rustington, has previously described her son as ‘bubbly’ and ‘larger than life’.
Those with information can call police on 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Operation Annexe or alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.