Michael Griffiths murder: Police seek 'unfamiliar' car

Fire in Fernhurst
Image caption Police believe the fire was started deliberately between 06:30 and 07:30 GMT

Detectives investigating the murder of a 59-year-old man whose body was found in a burning house in West Sussex are trying to trace a car seen in the road.

The body of Michael Griffiths was found by firefighters at his house in Old Glebe, Fernhurst, on 24 January.

Det Ch Insp Jeff Riley said witnesses had seen an "unfamiliar" black or dark-coloured vehicle, possibly a 4x4 or SUV type, parked on the pavement.

It was spotted around the time the fire broke out, between 06:30 and 07:30 GMT.

Mr Riley added: "It's possible that it was there in all innocence, but we really want to find out more about that vehicle and who was in it."

'Evidence of accelerants'

Mr Griffiths, a jewellery designer and maker, was found with serious injuries to his head and body but a post-mortem examination proved inconclusive and more tests were being carried out, police said.

Officers have been talking to walkers and motorists in the area as part of their investigation.

Mr Riley said evidence of accelerants were found in the house and it was believed the fire was started deliberately.

He said local garages were being contacted to see if anyone had purchased petrol in a container in the time leading up to the fire.

"I would ask anyone working in garages anywhere in the area who has any suspicion about someone buying petrol in a can overnight on the Wednesday or early Thursday morning to give us a call."

He also appealed for two builders who were at the scene and advised neighbours not to try to get into the house as the fire had a hold to contact detectives.

"They spoke to firefighters, but left before police arrived and without leaving their names," Mr Riley said.

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