April 2012

Worcester arson victim Andrew Heath was paedophile

A Worcester man murdered in an arson attack on his flat was a convicted paedophile, police have said.

Andrew Heath, 52, was found dead at his flat in Warndon, on 14 December.

West Mercia Police said his offences were a line of inquiry over his death and said rumours spreading round the area may have hampered their inquiry.

They confirmed he had five convictions in the 1980s and 1990s, before moving to Worcester, for gross indecency and indecent assault against teenage boys.

The offences occurred in Leicester and Birmingham, a spokesman said.

West Mercia Police said his last conviction was in 1999, when he was given three years probation for indecent assault.

He was jailed in 1984, 1989 and 1992 for gross indecency and indecent assault.

‘Fanciful rumours’

Det Ch Insp Paul Williamson said: “I have taken the decision to make public details of previous offences committed by Andrew Heath because it may have some bearing on our inquiries.

“Since his death a lot of rumours have been circulating around the local community in Warndon about Mr Heath, some of them quite fanciful, and we believe these may have hampered our investigation.”

He confirmed police had been looking into his previous offending “as one of our lines of inquiry”.

West Mercia Police said they had no records of any offences or complaints against Mr Heath since he moved to Worcester and they had “uncovered no animosity” towards him from the local community.

However, the force said if anyone was aware of anything that suggested otherwise they would like to speak to them.

Any reports concerning sexual offences would be dealt with in a sensitive and confidential manner by specially trained officers, a spokesman said.

Mr Williamson said: “Whatever Mr Heath did in his past, he died in a terrible way and his family have been left in limbo not knowing what happened to him.”

Three people were arrested last week over his death in the fire at his Chedworth Close home and have been released on bail.

A total of 10 people have been arrested over the matter.

Police have increased the reward for information leading to finding Mr Heath’s killer from £10,000 to £20,000.