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Police Make Further Plea For Information On Arson Attack

Published on: 30 Oct, 2013
Updated on: 30 Oct, 2013
Fred Kucharski composite

Fred Kucharski – left, as a younger man, a soldier in World War 2, and right, a photo taken more recently

Detectives are reissuing a public appeal for information about a Slyfield Green house fire, believed to be arson, as the victim’s family released a tribute.

Police launched a murder enquiry following the death of 92-year-old Slyfield Green resident Frederyk ‘Fred’ Kucharski (pictured) just over three months ago.

Mr Kucharski died in hospital on Thursday, 11 July following a fire at a residential property which was reported shortly before 12.30am on Saturday, 6 July. A forensic post-mortem later established that he had died as a result of injuries sustained during the fire.

Earlier this month detectives and neighbourhood officers revisited Slyfield Green and surrounding areas to speak with residents and business owners to try to build up a picture of Mr Kucharski’s movements in the days leading up to the incident.

As part of the renewed appeal for information officers are releasing a new photo of Mr Kucharski as a younger man and some further details around his background to encourage people in the local area to come forward.

Mr Kucharski was originally from Poland and in the 1960s worked at a plastics company in Guildford before his retirement in the 1980s. He had lived in Slyfield Green for more than 25 years.

He was regularly seen travelling into town using the local bus service and used to visit the Sainbury’s store in Burpham once a week to do his shopping.

The following statement has been issued on behalf of Mr Kucharski’s family:

“Fred was a lovely man and will be missed by all his family and friends. Nobody should suffer the way he did and we hope that those that caused his death are found and dealt with. He had an amazing life, fleeing from Poland at the start of the war, living and fighting the Germans during the war and then finding his brother at the end of the war in Witley Camp. So think he then lost his life to arson at the age of 92 is terrible.

“His happiest times were when he was married to May and although she sadly died young in 1987 she was the love of his life. He still regularly visited her grave and always left flowers up until his tragic death.

“Only in his death have we truly realised what an extraordinary person Fred was. He will be sadly missed.”

John Theobald a former colleague from Plastic Coatings Limited, Woodbridge Meadows, Guildford said, in a comment sent to The Guildford Dragon NEWS: “Fred was a quiet and shy person, always polite and impeccable in his behaviour towards everybody in the company.

Officers from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team are continuing to carry out extensive enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the fire and are urging any members of the public who may have seen Mr Kucharski in the days prior to the fire to contact them.

Detective Inspector Dave Cooper, who is leading the investigation, said: “This was a very serious and tragic incident where an elderly man living alone lost his life and we are doing everything possible to establish how this happened.

“We’ve had a really positive response from residents since officers revisited the area a few weeks ago to distribute leaflets about the incident and speak to people about Fred and his movements in the days before the fire.

“Although we’ve made a number of arrests and spoken to a great many people as part of the investigation I feel certain that our increased presence in Slyfield Green will have provoked discussion amongst residents and it’s possible that may have jogged someone’s memory.

“Any information, no matter how trivial you think it may be, could prove vital to our on-going enquiries and help us build up a clear timeline of events in the days leading up to the fire.

“From the information we have gathered from residents it’s clear that Fred was a well-known member of the local community so I’m sure people would remember speaking to him or seeing him out and about in Slyfield Green in July.

“If you have yet to speak to us, or if you have remembered any additional information, please pass this on so we can investigate further.

“Fortunately serious incidents of this nature are rare in Surrey and I would like to reassure Slyfield Green residents that we are committed to bringing those responsible to justice.”

A 37-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man, who were initially arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life and were later rearrested on suspicion of murder following a fatal house fire in Slyfield Green on July 6, have been rebailed until November 27 while the investigation continues.

A 20-year-old man and a 19-year-old man, both from Guildford, who were arrested in the vicinity of the offence on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life have been rebailed until October 31 while the investigation continues.

Feature Surrey police badge 3Anyone with any information is asked to contact Surrey Police as soon as possible on 101 quoting Operation Quillback. Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

See also: Two Re-arrested Following Death Of 92-Year-Old In House Fire

See also: Witnesses Sought Following Suspected Arson At House In Slyfield Green

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Responses to Police Make Further Plea For Information On Arson Attack

  1. Simon Vine Reply

    November 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Shocking piece of news. By strange coincidence I remember Fred Kucharski from having worked as a student at Plastic Coatings in 1977. His stories of his flight from Kattowice in Poland and involvement in WW2 somehow stuck in my mind over the many years that have since passed. RIP Fred.

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