Live updates

More calls for Bradford City fire investigation

There have been more calls for an investigation into the cause of the Valley Parade stadium fire.

It comes after allegations this week that the then chairman of the club was linked to a number of other businesses which had been damaged by fires.

But one of the detectives who investigated the blaze has told Calendar that, 30 years after the disaster which killed 56 people, he is still certain it was an accident.

Chris Dawkes reports:

Ex-fans' spokesman: Former Bantams chairman 'was out to make money'

The secretary of the Bradford City supporters’ club at the time of the 1985 stadium fire has said that former club chairman Stafford Heginbotham "was out to make money."

Patsy Hollinger, who also worked at the club as their groundsman, says he was banned from the ground after he challenged Heginbotham’s various accounts of the fire.

Hollinger has urged Bradford fans to demand a full investigation into the fire tragedy:

It comes after claims in a new book that the fire may have been an arson attack because it was one of at least nine fires at businesses owned by or associated with Heginbotham.

Advertisement

Police release e-fit of woman after burglary

Police have released an e-fit image of a woman they would like to trace following a burglary in Menston.

Credit: West Yorkshire Police

At about 6pm on Saturday, 11 April, a woman was at home in Main Street, when she became aware of someone else in her house.

The woman went to investigate and found an unknown woman in the side porch to her house.

The suspect claimed she was looking for a resident, whose name was not known to the victim, and then left on foot.

Nothing was believed to have been taken.

She is described as white, in her 50s, about 5ft tall with long, straight brown hair which went about half way down her back.

  1. National

Andy Burnham calls for fresh Bradford City fire probe

The 1985 Bradford City stadium fire killed 56 people. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images

Labour's Andy Burnham has supported calls for a fresh investigation into the 1985 Bradford City stadium fire which killed 56 people.

The shadow health secretary called on the police to "re-examine the quality" of the original investigation into the blaze at Bradford's Valley Parade stadium.

The original inquiry judge Sir Oliver Popplewell ruled it was an accident but a new book by victim Martin Fletcher, who lost family members in the tragedy, has claimed that it was one of nine that occurred at businesses owned or linked to the club's then chairman Stafford Heginbotham.

Mr Heginbotham's son James has dismissed the claims as "just absolutely ridiculous".

These are allegations of the most serious kind, and if a bereaved family member feels that they need to be investigated then they should be.

I have always felt that the original Popplewell inquiry was conducted with undue haste, and there is a concern that these matters were not thoroughly looked into at the time.

I would call on the police to re-examine the quality of the original investigation into the fire at Bradford City, and in the light of this new information, consider whether a new investigation should be reopened.

– Andy Burnham in The Guardian

West Yorkshire police have said the force would consider any new evidence concerning the fire while Patsy Hollinger, the secretary of the Bradford City supporters' club at the time of the fire, called on the people of the city to demand a full inquiry.

Bradford City chairman son defends father over fire allegations

The son of the former chairman of Bradford City has defended his late father over allegations that the fire disaster at Valley Parade was not an accident

56 fans died 30 years ago next month, in the worst ever fire tragedy at a football stadium. The most likely cause was a discarded cigarette.

A new book by survivor Martin Fletcher, who lost four members of his family, claims the former chairman Stafford Heginbotham was connected to a number of buildings which burned down before the disaster.

Advertisement

New claims over 'coincidence' of Bradford City fire

A new book claims the 1985 fire at Valley Parade in which 56 people were killed may have been an arson attack.

It is alleged in Fifty-Six - The Story of the Bradford Fire that the fire was just one of at least nine fires at businesses owned by or associated with the club's then chairman Stafford Heginbotham, who died in 1995.

Stafford Heginbotham, left Credit: Press Association

The author, Martin Fletcher, was 12 when he escaped from the disaster with his life but lost three generations of his family; his father, grandfather and younger brother.

The book, being serialised in The Guardian, does not make any direct allegations but Fletcher says Heginbotham's history with fires, which he claims resulted in payouts totalling around £27 million in today's terms, warranted further investigation.

An inquiry at the time by high court judge Mr Justice Popplewell concluded that the fire was an accident.

West Yorkshire Police says the force would consider any new evidence about the fire.

The jury at the inquest in 1985 delivered a verdict of misadventure. However should any evidence come to light which was not available to Her Majesty's Coroner at the original inquest, then we will consider its significance and take appropriate action.

– Detective Superintendent Mark Ridley, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team
Load more updates