A DAD-OF-TWO described the “chilling” moment he saw the aftermath of the explosion in Old Cemetery Road.
Hartlepool man Mark Watson’s curiosity got the better of him when he woke to find 17 emergency vehicles on the usually-isolated Spion Kop, off Old Cemetery Road, at the town’s Headland.
His house in Leas Walk overlooks the scene of the incident, which is usually only visited by dog walkers or those visiting the Jewish cemetery.
So when he opened his curtains to see the chaotic scene from his window he went to find out what was going on.
The unemployed 43-year-old walked behind the small cemetery as police were busy putting up the cordon elsewhere and caught a glimpse of the blue charred car.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw it, it was chilling especially where it is being all quiet,” he said.
“It looked like it had exploded from the inside out over, it certainly didn’t look like it had been set on fire.
“The metal on the roof was all buckled and there were no windows in it.
“The glass must have been shattered all over the floor. There was something on the other side of the road which maybe looked something like a car seat.
“I couldn’t tell though it was all burned and I didn’t get to look for too long before I was moved on by the police.”
He added: “It’s unbelievable that all this is going on up here. It’s usually quite quiet here you don’t see anything like this.”
Mark’s neighbour, full-time mum-of-two Michelle Rochester, said her partner and children had been looking out of their front window with binoculars to catch a glimpse of the action.
The 35-year-old first became aware of the incident when she heard the bang at 11.30pm on Tuesday night.
She said: “I heard it, it woke me up. I didn’t see anything until this morning though when I looked out the window.”
And Alison Graves, 60, who also lives on Leas Walk, added: “I looked out the window at 5am this morning when I got up with my husband who was going to work.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of police. They were getting loads of stuff out of big blue boxes. It’s very strange.”
A 37-year-old man, who did not wish to be named, said: “I was talking to one of my mates this morning who was walking home from work and he saw the car all burnt out.
“He said he saw a person slumped against the steering wheel.”
A 55-year-old woman from Howard Street, who did not wish to be named, said: “I heard the helicopter in the early hours of this morning as well but I just thought it was kids on bikes or something.
“When I woke up this morning and saw all this going on I couldn’t believe it. It’s eerie isn’t it to think someone’s died up there.”