Man guilty of murdering sister in Newton Heath

30/03/2017

A 50-year-old man has today been found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of murdering his sister at her home on Surbiton Road, Newton Heath on the 29 February 2016.

Stephen Archer poured accelerant over Julie Archer and set her on fire in the living room. She fled the house and was treated by paramedics on the front garden, but having sustained over 95% burns; she never regained consciousness and died in hospital three days later.

The fire spread to the rest of the house causing Julie's daughter to jump out of an upstairs window to safety. The family dog also died in the fire.

Kirsty Walls for the CPS said: "This is a tragic case in which Stephen Archer killed his sister only a matter of weeks after two other family members had sadly passed away. 

"It was the prosecution case that he went to her house armed with a cocktail of petrol mixed with mineral spirit with the intent to cause her serious harm, and he did so whilst his niece was upstairs in the house. Evidence presented at the trial showed how he had posted abusive messages on social media implying that his sisters had killed their father and uncle and he made threats against them.

"After making initial comments to the police that he had intended to maim his sister, he then claimed he had been acting in self-defence when he threw a glass of petrol at her and that the ignition of the petrol had been a freak accident. However, today after carefully considering the evidence against him, the jury has accepted the prosecution case and found him guilty of murder.

"I would like to offer my sincere condolences to the remaining members of the Archer family and their friends, our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

Note to editors:

  • Kirsty Walls is Deputy Head of Crown Court Prosecutions for North West CPS.
  • Stephen Archer was arrested by Greater Manchester Police on the 4 March 2016 travelling on a train from Piccadilly to Marple.