IN a police career spanning 30 years, Det-Supt Bob Bridgestock thought he had seen it all.
But nothing could have prepared him for the scenes in the Chishti family home.
Seven people lay dead in the charred remains of what had been their home. An eighth, a woman, lay unconscious in a hospital bed.
And he knew after the first few minutes that all had died at the hands of an arsonist.
And over the next few days it became clear the family had died in a vengeance attack by a gang of Huddersfield men.
"In my career I have seen some terrible incidents, some terrible examples of man's inhumanity to man. But nothing compared to what I saw at Birkby," he said.
"The scene was very, very distressing. It was horrendous, knowing that children were involved. Children's deaths are always of concern, and on this scale it was unbelievable.
"This was so many victims in one place. It was premeditated.
"But I am pleased that we have got a result for the family. They are such wonderful people, with strong beliefs of religion, education and family at heart. I am glad we have been able to bring it to a conclusion."
Marsden-born Det-Supt Bridgestock, a policeman since 1974, has spent all but two years of his career as a detective.
That has seen him tackle dozens of murders and serious crimes - 26 killings in the past three years alone, including the murder of former Shepley father-of- two Kevin Jackson by car thieves in Halifax at New Year, 2001 - but the Birkby one may be his last major inquiry.
He is to retire in the autumn and enjoy a new life with wife Carol, a support officer with the police, and their family.
He began his police career patrolling the streets of Huddersfield, before joining the CID in 1976.
Since then he has served in Huddersfield, Bradford and Calderdale and has been involved with many high-profile investigations.
And in 1983 he won West Yorkshire's top police award, the Dennis Hoban Trophy, for his work in trapping three Huddersfield men who raped and killed two women in Cheshire in the Boarded Barn case.
In all, he has received more than 20 commendations from high courts, judges, crown courts and chief constables.
But the one thing that brought him the greatest satisfaction in the Birkby case was far less official.
It was being able to sit in a living room with the surviving members of the Chishti family and to tell them: We've brought your family's killers to justice.