Police hunt young ‘witness’ to £2m school arson attack

POLICE want to trace a child as young as five who may be a vital witness to a fire that caused 2m damage at a Doncaster school.

In November last year arsonists set fire to Hatfield High School in Doncaster.

More than 1,000 children including sixth-formers and Year 11 GCSE students were affected for days afterwards.

Police have already questioned a 13-year-old boy in connection with the incident but now want to trace a blond-haired boy who they believe may have seen the person who started the fire.

However, police stress that they want to speak to the boy purely as a witness.

He is described as being aged between five and seven years old with “distinctive” blond hair. It is believed he may have been visiting another part of the school earlier in the day, where a church fete was being held.

Det Con Simon Honeybone said: “We are appealing for parents in the Hatfield area of Doncaster to contact us if they think they know a young boy who could be an important witness in this arson investigation.

“This young boy may have seen what happened. We would like to talk to him purely as a witness. It is possible his parents don’t know he was at the school that afternoon. He does have distinctive blond hair.”

About 40 firefighters from Doncaster and Rotherham tackled the huge blaze at the Ash Hill Road campus on Saturday, November 10. Forensic experts were drafted in to comb through the charred ruins and detectives have searched through the school’s closed circuit TV tapes.

The school hall and entrance area were completely destroyed and at least half the classrooms were damaged by smoke or water.

It is the second arson attack at the school in four years. In 1997 the science block was destroyed. After this fire the school, which has 1,200 pupils, invested heavily in state-of-the-art information technology, but all this went up in smoke.

If anyone thinks they know the boy, or has any other information, they should contact DC Honeybone at Thorne police station on 0114 220 2020.