Hunt for killer of Patryk Mortimer continues after his 'violent death' in arson inferno a year ago
His escape could have taken just seconds – but a fire which raged at temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees claimed the life of Patryk Mortimer in
The 39-year-old had lived in the former Manor House Care Home, which was being used as a house in multiple occupation (HMO), for just a few days before the blaze happened shortly before 3am on Saturday, November 3, last year.
On the night before Patryk, originally from the Wloclawek area of Poland, and others had headed to the nearby New Inn for a drink and then collected more supplies from an off-licence – CCTV from that trip would go on to help police in their inquiries.
But just hours later, while nine tenants managed to flee the large property, on the main road through Easington Lane, his bid for survival ended in his tragic death.
Patryk’s room on the ground floor was just a few feet from a fire door and it is thought he had tried to get under the ceiling-height fire to make his escape from the acrid fumes.
But the heat and smoke was too much and he was found dead by firefighters in the hallway.
His death was caused by the inhalation of smoke and heat, with photos released in the aftermath showing the scale of the damage caused in the incident.
A year on, a team of Northumbria Police officers continue to piece together what happened in the lead up to the blaze.
In August, the force confirmed it had one man under investigation, having released five others without action but today, the force says no one is under investigation.
However, the officer leading the case has said it is working towards a court case as his officers thrive to get justice for Patryk’s family, including his mother back in Poland.
It is hoped that the anniversary appeal will lead witnesses to get in touch with the vital piece of information which could solve the case, which is based on the fact the fire was started maliciously, but was not targeted at causing harm to the trained chef.
Detective Superintendent John Bent, whose officers have worked with a specialist fire investigation consultant on the case, said Patryk’s death had been “violent" and has described the blaze as an inferno, with temperatures reaching up to 1,000 degrees as the fire quickly took hold.
He added: “We can’t keep people under investigation forever, and nobody is currently under investigation, but that is not to say it is not a live inquiry and there is still a suspect.
“But we are making this appeal one year, somebody might have seen Patryk when he was out and about, might know him and other people who had been in there and might have seen something around the start of the fire.
“They might have the final thing we need to get a criminal justice outcome in this case.
“We do have a number of leads in the investigation and we do have circumstantial evidence and we are just a very small step away from potentially seeking a charge decision on the case, we just need a bit more, and that’s really what we hope to get as a result of this appeal.”
The team has spoken to dozens of people as part of the probe, with 600 hours of CCTV amassed through the inquiry, which has drawn on front-line officers, forensic experts and specialist detectives.
An inquest into Patryk’s death has been opened and adjourned by Sunderland Coroner’s Office while inquiries continue, with the next pre-inquest review scheduled to take place on Tuesday, December 17, at Sunderland Civic Centre.
Anyone with information which can help the police investigation is asked to call 101 quoting log 146 031118 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.