Police seek help over fatal fire
POLICE working to build a case against the man accused of murdering 44-year-old Lismore Heights' man, Peter Allen in November 2000 have again sought information from the public. Lismore detectives yesterday issued a further appeal for friends, acquaintances or business associates of Mr Allen to come forward. The call comes less than two weeks before the case against Andrew Stephen Benn, the man accused Mr Allen's murder, is due for mention in Lismore Local Court on July 17. Detective Senior Constable David Mackie said the magistrate may set down a committal hearing date at Benn's next court appearance Benn was arrested at his Ballina Road home on February 13 this year. He was charged with murder, maliciously destroying property with intent to endanger life, maliciously damaging property by fire and other offences. Police yesterday released details of Mr Allen's life in a bid to elicit information from anyone who may have known him or visited him in his home at 20 Avondale Avenue, Lismore, in the period leading up to his death. Mr Allen lived at Avondale Avenue with his wife, Julie-Anne and daughter, Kathryn until the couple separated and the wife and daughter moved to Sydney. He was a keen gardener but his yard became unkempt shortly before his death. Mr Allen suffered depression and became a heavy drinker, and sought help from Alcoholics Anonymous and INTRA in Lismore. Police are interested to hear from anyone who may have met Mr Allen through these organisations. They are also keen to hear from a teacher from the Kyogle area who was friends with Mr Allen and may have had property stored at the Avondale Avenue home. Mr Allen's body was found in his home after it was destroyed by fire in 2000. His death was initially listed as incineration and smoke inhalation, but police reopened the case in 2006 after a tip-off led them to believe the fire was not an accident.