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Popplewell calls for fires probe

Published 16/04/2015

Bradford City chairman Stafford Heginbotham, left, and Mr Justice Popplewell in front of the wrecked stand at Valley Parade
Bradford City chairman Stafford Heginbotham, left, and Mr Justice Popplewell in front of the wrecked stand at Valley Parade

The judge who carried out the 1985 public inquiry into the Bradford fire has said police should look at eight other fires allegedly connected to the football club's then chairman to "see if there was anything sinister".

A new book claims the fire at Bradford's Valley Parade stadium was one of at least nine blazes at businesses owned by or associated with Stafford Heginbotham, who died in 1995.

Sir Oliver Popplewell's inquiry concluded that the blaze was an accident, probably started by a spectator dropping a cigarette into rubbish that had accumulated under an old timber stand. He stands by that ruling, saying there was no evidence of arson.

But he told Press Association Sport: "I don't think it's going to affect what we decided but I think it is important from a public point of view that the police look at the other fires and see if there was anything sinister. It is a remarkable number.

"I think it's important to satisfy people's minds that the other fires are unconnected."

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