Police hunt clues in fatal house fire

Richmond Local Area commander superintendent Bruce Lyons (right) and crime prevention officer, senior constable Michael Hogan door-knocking in Avondale Avenue yesterday looking for leads.

People who lived in or around Lismores Avondale Avenue six years ago are being urged to contact police investigating the possible homicide of a 44-year-old man in a house destroyed by fire at the time.

As a result of a valuable tip-off, Lismore detectives have re-opened the investigation into the fire in Avondale Avenue on November 26, 2000, that killed Lismore man Peter Allen.

An electrical fault was originally found to be the cause of the fire and the Coroner accepted that finding, dispensing with a formal inquest.

The new information indicates the fire had been deliberately lit by someone who knew Mr Allen was inside the house.

Police now believe Mr Allen had disturbed two men who broke into his home and that he was assaulted as a result.

A number of items of property were allegedly stolen before the house was set alight.

Acting crime manager, Detective Inspector Shane Diehm, said police were keen to speak to anyone who saw two men with a lawn mower in the vicinity of Avondale Avenue and Ballina Street, Lismore, in the early hours of November 26, 2000.

The sighting of the men with the lawn mower, one of several items stolen from the house, is seen as a critical line of investigation by police who have set up Strike Force Carraboi to re-investigate the suspicious death.

Its pretty unusual for two people to be pushing a lawn mower up the street at 3am in the morning, said Inspector Diehm.

We believe the lawnmower may be connected with Mr Allens death.

Yesterday, (Wednesday), about half a dozen police officers door-knocked the Avondale Avenue area canvassing residents for any information which could help them break the case.

We are asking anyone who lived in or around Avondale Avenue six years ago to get in touch with us, even if they think they dont have any information which could assist us, Inspector Diehm said.

Whether they think its trivial or not, we would like them to contact us.

Mr Allens charred remains were found inside the house after it was gutted by fire and a new house has subsequently been built on the property.

Police said Mr Allen was separated and single and was believed to be living alone at the time of the fire.

Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives from Strike Force Carraboi on 6623 1599 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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