Manhunt launched in Manchester after woman set on fire

Stephen Archer Image copyright GMP
Image caption Police have launched a manhunt for Stephen Archer, 50, following the incident

A manhunt has been launched in Manchester after a woman was doused with petrol and set on fire.

The 49-year-old was airlifted to hospital from Surbiton Road, Newton Heath with 70% burns after the attack on Monday.

Officers are trying to trace Stephen Archer, 50, of Openshaw, who they say could still be a danger to the public.

Police say they are treating the incident as attempted murder and have warned people not to approach him.

Supt Arif Nawaz, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "This is a horrific incident and I cannot imagine what the victim is going through.

He added: "We have reason to believe Stephen could be carrying several bottles of petrol in his backpack and a man was seen fitting his description cycling away from the scene.

"Please do not approach Stephen, but contact police as a matter of urgency by calling 999."

Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption The house was badly damaged by the fire

The victim is in a critical condition in hospital.

A 19-year-old woman escaped uninjured from an upstairs window of the house, with help from neighbours during the attack at 09:45 GMT on Monday.

Supt Nawaz said that they were doing everything possible to find Stephen Archer who they believe may have links to Openshaw, where he lives, and the Marple and Romiley areas.

Three fire engines dealt with the blaze and several routes around Surbiton Road were closed off.

Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Three fire engines dealt with the blaze

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