Wednesday 22 November 2017

Police hunt man named Stephen Archer after woman set on fire in 'murder bid'

Man cycling away from the scene of attempted murder Credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
Man cycling away from the scene of attempted murder Credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
Man cycling away from the scene Credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
Stephen Archer, 50, who is wanted in connection with an attempted murder Credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

Kim Pilling

Police want to trace a man wanted in connection with an attempted murder in which it is believed the victim was doused with petrol before she was set alight.

A 49-year-old woman is in a critical condition after she suffered 70pc burns to the body from the incident in Newton Heath, Manchester, on Monday morning.

Detectives want to trace Stephen Archer, 50, of Victoria Street, Openshaw, in connection with the attempted murder and say he may be carrying several bottles of petrol.

Officers attended the address in Surbiton Road shortly before 9.45am to reports that a man had deliberately set fire to a woman.

The upstairs window of a house where a 49-year-old woman was doused with petrol before she was set alight. Credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
The upstairs window of a house where a 49-year-old woman was doused with petrol before she was set alight. Credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
Inside of a house where a 49-year-old woman was doused with petrol before she was set alight Credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire
Iinside of a house where a 49-year-old woman was doused with petrol before she was set alight Credit: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

A 19-year-old woman escaped uninjured from an upstairs window of the house, with help from neighbours, said police.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Arif Nawaz, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "First of all our thoughts are with the victim and her family, this is a horrific incident and I cannot imagine what the victim is going through. We can assure her and the wider public that we are doing all that we can to try and find the person responsible.

"We have a large multi-skilled team currently searching for Stephen Archer.

"We believe Stephen may have links to Openshaw, where he lives, and the Marple and Romiley areas where we know he has connections. Our search, however, is not limited to those areas.

"We have reason to believe Stephen could be carrying several bottles of petrol in his backpack and a man was seen fitting his description cycling away from the scene.

"We are appealing for the public to take a look at his picture and get in touch with us if you see him.

"In particular, we are appealing to anyone who may work in a petrol station who may have seen Stephen.

"Please do not approach Stephen but contact police as a matter of urgency by calling 999.

"Stephen, if you should see this appeal, come and talk to police. We can end this situation in a calm manner and find out what led to this tragic situation."

Anyone with information should call the investigation team directly on 0161 856 3891, 999, or the independent charity, Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.

Press Association

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