11,000 call on PM to order new inquiry into Joe McCafferty's murder in Huddersfield

A mother seeking justice for her son almost 25 years after he was murdered has handed in a petition calling on the Prime Minister to order an independent inquiry into the case.

Seven-year-old Joe McCafferty died in an arson attack in 1997, when petrol was poured through the letterbox of his aunt's house in Huddersfield, where he was sleeping, and set alight.

Around 11,000 people have signed a petition launched on behalf of his mother Tracy McCafferty, calling for political intervention.

She said she had lost faith in West Yorkshire Police to solve the crime.

"I shouldn't still be doing appeals after all this time," she said.

"I think if West Yorkshire Police could have solved the investigation, they would have solved it in 1997, I really don't think they can solve it [now]."

The scene of the fire in 1997. Credit: ITV Calendar Archive

Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman has said he will present the petition to Parliament.

He said: "The petition I think will help me and help other people working for the McCafferty family to get what they've long worked for and that is a fresh, independent external inquiry into the death of their little boy, Joe.

"I know it's a long time but I'm the chairman of the Miscarriages of Justice group and we've had older cases than this that we have struggled on with, kept going.

"As long as we've got passionate people like the McCafferty family with us, we will achieve that aim."

Mr Sheerman said he would raise the case with the Home Secretary and the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.

He added: "We aren't going to give up on this we're going to find out who killed Joe McCafferty and whether we can now still bring them to justice."

No arrests were made in the case until 2015 when a 65-year-old man and 60-year-old woman were arrested before being released with no charge.

The detective in charge of the hunt at the time, Elizabeth Belton, was later jailed herself for perverting the course of justice in another case.

But West Yorkshire Police said they remain determined to find Joe's killers.

Det Chief Insp Sharron Kaye said: "Our investigation into the murder of seven-year-old Joe McCafferty remains open and we remain committed to finding the persons responsible.

"It is now almost 25 years since Joe’s death and I believe that vital information to identify those responsible is in existence but, for whatever reason, has not been shared with the police.

"I would ask that person to reflect and to use the upcoming significant anniversary as an opportunity to come forward.

"Whatever your reasons for not speaking, it is not too late to do so now."