Crimewatch clue to Wakefield blaze murder

Lea Brooke.
Lea Brooke.
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SPY camera footage of an arson attack close to murdered 81-year-old grandmother Lea Brooke’s home has been released by police – after a Crimewatch viewer suggested the two cases might be linked.

Lea Brooke died in a fierce blaze after white spirit was poured through the letterbox and lit at her Sandal Grange Farm home on Walton Lane, Sandal, Wakefield, in the early hours of Monday, November 10, 2008.

Just after 9pm on Sunday, August 31, 2008, CCTV footage from a nearby property in Milnthorpe Green, Sandal, shows two men pouring accelerant from what appears to be a petrol can on to a plastic traffic cone and setting the cone alight before driving off in what was believed to be a red car.

A police spokeswoman said: “Following a Crimewatch appeal shown on BBC1 on January 26, 2011, an anonymous caller rang in suggesting a potential link between the arson and an incident at a nearby property two months before.”

A second Crimewatch appeal on Monday showed CCTV footage from the August incident.

Senior investigating officer Det Supt Dave Pervin said: “We did look at this incident at the time of the initial investigation and made extensive enquiries, including circulating the information internally to all colleagues and publicly via the West Yorkshire Police ‘Caught On Camera’ website, but it didn’t yield any concrete results.

“Following the anonymous call to Crimewatch in January, we made the decision to further publicise the CCTV footage from the incident in August 2008 in the hope that someone with information may come forward.

“The nature of this crime would suggest a deliberate targeting of the owner’s property. We would very much like to speak to these two men or hear from anyone who may know who they are in order to eliminate them from our enquiries. Mrs Brooke’s family are still dealing with the devastation caused by her death and there is the added suffering while her killer is still at large.”

Contact police via 0845 6060606 – reference HMET Operation Pitkennedy, SIO Det Supt Pervin; Crimestoppers on 0800 555111; or text to 07786 200 805 followed by “Sandal Fire” and your message.

Mark Cashin

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