Father wants answers over murders

A FATHER who lost his daughter and grandson in an unsolved double murder demanded answers last night after Downing Street revealed Essex Police had admitted it should have handled the case differently.

A FATHER who lost his daughter and grandson in an unsolved double murder demanded answers last night after Downing Street revealed Essex Police had admitted it should have handled the case differently.

Les Trigg, whose daughter Jean perished with her five-year-old son Anthony when arsonists torched their Clacton home in July 1998, last night wanted to know what the county's force had apparently done wrong.

The distraught grandfather has been campaigning for five years to find his daughter's killer and has made two official complaints against the force, whose investigations remain open.

Mr Trigg, from Bolton, has now called on the Prime Minister to help appoint another force to take over and expressed concern about what had happened during the investigations.


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A spokeswoman for Essex Police said yesterday that it would contact Mr Trigg directly, rather than comment on specific allegations through the media.

Single mum Jean Trigg, 26, Anthony and four-month-old baby Callum had left Bolton just weeks before the tragedy to start a new life.

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They were staying with Miss Trigg's friend, Christina Wroe and her family in Church Crescent while they looked for a home of their own.

But on July 27, 1998, the house was torched. Anthony died that night and his mother lost her fight for life a week later.

Callum was pulled from the flames, survived and is now looked after by Mr Trigg's sister, near Manchester.

Miss Wroe, who was 36 at the time, suffered badly burned lungs and police were unable to question her for three weeks. Her sons - Craig and Mark Barton - also escaped along with her daughter, Vicky Wroe.

A 16-year-old boy was quizzed by Essex Police after the fire but was released without charge.

An inquest in December 1998 into the deaths revealed that the fire was most likely to have started from within the house with the use of petrol.

During the hearing - at which a coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing - a 16-year-old said he did not start the fire.

But now, in a letter dated December 30 to 61-year-old Mr Trigg, Tina Sampson, of the Downing Street direct communication unit, wrote: "Mr Blair appreciates that your family has experienced the most terrible loss and can only imagine the distress and heartache you have suffered and will, no doubt, continue to suffer.

"He understands your determination to ensure that all lines of enquiry are followed up."

Acknowledging Mr Trigg's two official complaints, Ms Sampson added: "Although you withdrew the first of these, the second one was resolved informally and Essex Police have admitted that they should have handled the case differently."

Last night, Mr Trigg said he was "gobsmacked" by this latest revelation. "This is completely news to me. I didn't know they'd admitted anything about their investigation.

"Well, now they have, I want to know what they would have done differently. They keep on saying that I've been kept informed and that we've been updated, but we haven't.

"I'm disgusted by the lack of progress. They say the case is open, but things don't seem to be moving on."

Det Supt Gareth Wilson, of Stanway's major investigations unit, said: "We never close any case and we will always respond to new information."

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister again expressed Mr Blair's sympathy, but stressed it had advised Mr Trigg of the avenues open to him for formal complaints.

Anyone who may have more information about the fire on July 27, 1998, is asked to call Essex Police on 01245 491491.

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