A Huddersfield mother whose son was killed in an arson attack has made a heartfelt plea to the community to help trace his killer - 18-years on.
Seven-year-old Joe McCafferty was asleep at his aunt’s house in Haywood Avenue in Marsh on May 3, 1997, when petrol was poured through the letterbox and set alight.
Joe was badly injured and later died in hospital. His aunt, two cousins and older brother survived the terrifying ordeal.
Joe’s mum Tracey McCafferty, speaking on the eve of the anniversary of the fire, said: “Someone knows who’s done it, most definitely in this town, and I do believe people locally talk about it.
“Not having answers, not knowing why; it’s there daily. Asking myself the same questions every day about who could have done this.
“They say that time is a healer, it’s not. Time hasn’t healed, if anything it’s got worse over the years”
Tracey has spoken openly about her ordeal in a renewed police video appeal to help catch Joe’s killer.
She told Det Chief Insp Elizabeth Belton: “It would mean the world. Just to put it to bed, to put it to rest. Not just for me but for my son Nicky. My son suffers in silence.
“Just for peace of mind of knowing that whoever has done this has been caught. To be able to go to bed knowing that someone has been caught for it, to be able to get up in morning and not be waiting.
“It’s not fair that I don’t know after 18 years who has killed my son.
“I want the community to tell me if they hear anything. It might only be the smallest thing but I need to know who has killed my son, for me, for my family, but more so for Nicky, his dad and his brothers and sisters.”
Det Chief Insp Belton said: “This is a crime that shocked a community to the core but despite numerous appeals for information over the years, no-one has ever been convicted of this offence.
“Joe McCafferty was a young boy of seven, he would’ve now been a young man of 25.
“18 years is a long time. It is a long time for a family desperately wanting answers. But it is also a long time for someone to live with the guilt of killing a boy with his whole life ahead of him.
“At the time or over the years, Joe’s killer may have made disclosures to someone close to them. They may also have noticeably changed personality around the time of Joe’s death and reacted strangely to conversations about the fire.
“It might be that someone has withheld information over the years, either thinking it unimportant or out of a sense of loyalty to someone. We want to close this case and provide the answers to Joe’s family that they so desperately desire. We would urge anyone with information, however small or insignificant it may seem, to please get in touch.”
Anyone with information about the circumstances leading up to Joe’s death or the person responsible is urged to call West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team on 101 or pass information anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.