Police appeal to community

PCSO Peter McBride with the poster of Andrew Simon's murder on Dent Street
PCSO Peter McBride with the poster of Andrew Simon's murder on Dent Street

POLICE have launched a new campaign in their hunt for an arson victim’s murderer.

Neighbourhood officers are distributing posters and leaflets around the Dent Street area of Hartlepool.

They carry a photo of victim Andrew Simon, 44, who died after an arson attack at his home in Dent Street on Tuesday, June 11.

Police hope it will lead to a breakthrough in the investigation into his murder.

Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Mal Suggitt said: “Neighbourhood police officers are visible and accessible in the local area and are carrying out extra patrols in order to reassure local residents.

“Local people know these officers and if anyone has any concerns or any information they can speak with officers on the ground or call the non-emergency number 101.”

A team of 30 detectives and police officers are working after the force launched a murder hunt for his killer on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old died in hospital from breathing in smoke during the blaze in his living room in Dent Street.

Detective Superintendant Peter McPhillips, who is leading the investigation, told a press conference he believes the key to solving the case lies within the local community.

Det Supt McPhillips said: “We are using a number of methods in order to spread the word about our appeal for information and these posters are just one way of doing that.

“I believe the key to solving this murder is in the local community and it is vital that people come forward with anything that they know.”

Mr Simon’s distraught mum, Barbara Simon, 81, has made an emotional plea to the public for information.

She said: “Andrew didn’t deserve this, he was my son and I will miss him terribly.

“Anyone who knows anything, please, please contact police and help officers to find out who did this.”

A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder on Tuesday after police searched two houses in Rium Terrace and Furness Street.

The suspect was released with no further action the next day.

Mr Simon, a dad-of-three died, at the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton shortly after the fire.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Hartlepool CID on the non emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.