Manchester

Chinatown fire: Deaths of rough sleepers treated as murder

Man wanted over Chinatown fire Image copyright GMP
Image caption Police have asked anyone who recognises the man on the CCTV to get in touch "immediately"

The deaths of two rough sleepers in a fire in Manchester's Chinatown are being treated as murder, police have said.

The blaze in a disused building in Nicholas Street began early on 25 November and burned for several hours.

Wayne Bardsley, 51, and James Evans, 57, had taken refuge in the building because they kept being moved off the streets, a friend told the BBC.

CCTV images of a man police want to speak to have been released.

Image copyright Manchester Fire
Image caption Firefighters worked through the night to control the blaze in Manchester city centre

Det Ch Insp Amber Waywell said, following an investigation, Greater Manchester Police "now believe that this incident could be suspicious".

"[We] have launched a murder investigation to establish how these men tragically lost their lives," she said.

She said officers wanted to hear from anyone who recognises the man in the CCTV "immediately".

"We also believe that members of the homeless community may have been in or near the building before the fire started. They could hold information that will be critical to our investigation," she added.

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