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Fire at gay murder scene

PUBLISHED: 15:38 18 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:08 12 August 2010

A FIRE broke out at the murder scene of a possible homophobic killing. Forensic officers were still gathering evidence at the house in Page Heath Villas, Bickley, when the blaze started on Monday at around 12.05pm. Police admitted it could have been

A FIRE broke out at the murder scene of a possible homophobic killing.

Forensic officers were still gathering evidence at the house in Page Heath Villas, Bickley, when the blaze started on Monday at around 12.05pm.

Police admitted it "could have been" started by chemicals they were using but said the cause is still being investigated.

Officers were collecting clues about the murder of Gerry Edwards, 59, and the attempted murder of his partner Chris Bevan, 56.

Mr Edwards was killed on March 3 after answering the door to a man who stabbed him to death before turning his attention on his partner.

Independent forensic scientist and fingerprint expert, Carl Lloyd, said: "Whichever way you look at it, it's a mess. Some of the chemicals you use in forensics are flammable but it doesn't matter what chemicals you use, if you put in the health and safety precautions it shouldn't be a problem.

"In this day and age you need to do that to look after yourself and the other people. It seems very odd. It could have consequences. In their defence, if it was started by chemicals they were using, I'm sure they didn't want it to happen. They could have lost good evidence.

"I have never heard of it happening before and I've been in this sort of work for over 30 years. The bottom line is it shouldn't."

A fire brigade spokesperson said: "Fire crews were called to an address in Page Heath Villas on Monday. Around 25 per cent of the first floor was damaged by the blaze. The fire was under control at 12.34pm. Firefighters from Bromley and Lewisham attended the incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation." They did not confirm where the fire had started.

A police spokesperson refused to say whether officers had collected all the evidence they needed to, or whether some had been destroyed in the blaze.

She said: "I can confirm that a fire broke out. Some of our forensic guys were working at the time."

Asked whether it was caused by chemicals they were using, she said: "It could have been.

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