Maybe or maybe not a serial killer,
depending on interpretation, he killed, by setting fire to houses
where he killed 26 people.
The son of a prostitute, he never knew his
father. And because his mother could not cope with his
epilepsy, he was looked after by his grandparents.
He changed his name by deed-poll to Bruce
At age 9 he burnt down a shopping centre,
and said he liked fire.
4th December 1979, A fire broke out
in Selby street, Hull, Edith Hastie was in the house
with four of her children, one son, Charles managed to
help his mother out of a back bedroom window, but thee
other boys were trapped. Fire service got them out, but
all 3 later died in hospital.
The Hastie family were known as a 'Problem
Family', so police started looking for someone who might
be out for revenge.
Lee was one of the youngsters
questioned, and three months after the fire he
Lee confessed to the Selby Street
fire, saying "I didn't mean to kill them," and told the
police how Charlie Hastie had demanded money from him
for sexual activities.
To the amazement of the police Lee
went on to confess to more fires in Hull over the
previous 7 years. At first police thought he was a
fantasist, willing to confess to anything, but after
Lee gave them detailed descriptions, they realised
they had a serial arsonist on their hands, and as a
consequence a murderer.
Lee claimed that most of the fires
were started at random simply because he loved fire, and
that he did not consider whether he was endangering life
when he started them. Only the Hastie fire was a 'known'
house, as he bore a grudge against Charles.
Police drove Lee around Hull to get
him to show them the fires he had started, they tried to
trap him, taking him to a house fire where another
suspect had been caught, but he denied all knowledge,
but confessed to many others. In all instance the fires
were thought to have been accidents and at no time was
January 1981, at Leeds crown court, Lee pleaded not
guilty to 26 counts of murder, but guilty to 26
counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished
responsibility, and to 11 counts of arson.
He was taken
to Rampton secure unit, where he remains.