Bruce George Peter Lee
"Street of hate"
Despite being England's 10th largest city, the Northeastern city of Hull is geographically somewhat out on a limb, one of those places most people rarely have cause to travel through, and which rarely distinguishes itself. The area of Hull where the fire took place, around half a mile west of the city center was a poor, run down area, and much of its community spirit had been eroded down the years due to the poverty, unemployment and crime that had been spreading ever since the city's decline as a major fishing port had set in during the early 1970s.
Nevertheless, Det Supt. Sagar was surprised at how reluctant the area's residents were to offer his officers any help with their enquiries, and shocked at the level of animosity they expressed toward the Hastie family despite the tragic events of that night.
Then again, the Hasties were a family whose reputation preceded them. When he had been woken in the early hours to be told there was a fire at "the Hastie family's house," Sagar hadn't needed any more information despite the fact there were probably 20 families of that name in the city. The Hasties they spoke of were well known to local police. The father, Tommy Hastie, was a habitual petty criminal, who at the time was five months into a jail sentence for burgling a nearby sports club along with his eldest son, the latest in a long string of offences for which he had been convicted.
The fact that he was happy for his son to be his partner in crime might help explain why the younger members of the Hastie clan had become notorious for running riot around the neighborhood. Barely a day went by without the police being called to another incident involving them stoning elderly residents, vandalizing local amenities and smashing up neighboring houses. They urinated through letterboxes, defecated on doorsteps and robbed local children of their pocket money. Sometimes it appeared that the Hasties were a one-family crime wave.