Son ‘murdered mum after throwing petrol at her and starting fire in bungalow’


Mark See, 34, is accused of dousing his own mother in petrol after an argument turned heated and setting fire to her

Sandra See
Sandra See

A man allegedly murdered his own mother after dousing her with petrol and setting her alight, a court has heard.

Mark See is on trial accused of murdering his 63-year-old mum, Sandra See after a fire engulfed the bungalow they shared in Gorton, Manchester.

The 34-year-old has denied murder, Manchester Evening News reports.

Ms See’s body was ‘incinerated’ and she could only be identified through the metal plate in her leg, the court was told.

The court heard how her son drove away from the burning house minutes after the blaze broke out.

He was later found by police in the fetal position in a churchyard near Manchester airport, Manchester Crown Court was told.

The remains of the property after the blaze



Jurors were told that Mr See had returned home after a ‘normal’ day at work on July 12, to the home he also shared with his girlfriend, Natalie Hughes, who was Ms See’s full time carer.

His mother had needed a Zimmer frame to get around after surgery following a fall.

Mr See, who worked as a driver collecting and delivering furniture, had returned with a one liter bottle of whiskey and two bottles of coke, the court heard.

During the evening, it is alleged that he became ‘increasingly abusive’ to Ms Hughes and his mother, prosecutor Francis FitzGibbon QC said.

The scene on Darras Road, Gorton, Manchester



“He was pressing his mother to drink with him, she didn’t want to but she went along with it and did anyway.”

They also drank some Guinness, and at one point Mr See ‘demanded’ £100 from his mother to buy more alcohol, the prosecutor explained.

“She refused to give it to him,” the QC added.

Ms Hughes saw him go into the kitchen and heard ‘banging noises’, before he returned with something partly concealed by his back.

He had a six pint milk carton which he used to store petrol for a lawnmower, jurors heard.

Shortly after, she is alleged to have heard raised voices and then began to feel heat, and saw flames and black smoke.

She could not breathe and ran out of the property. Mr See followed a minute later.

Tributes were left out to the murdered mum



He told her to ‘run’ but she refused, Mr FitzGibbon said.

“She’s dead, she’s dead,” Mr See is alleged to have said.

“Let’s leave her, let’s go.”

“We can’t leave her, we need to ring the fire brigade,” Ms Hughes replied.

About two minutes after the fire is believed to have broken out, Mr See drove away in his work van, at 2.19am.

The attack followed on from a “furious” argument prosecutors allege



Firefighters arrived about five minutes later. They were able to recover Ms See’s body, but it was described as being ‘incinerated’.

“The prosecution say that Mark See threw petrol at his mother and set fire to it, in the course of a furious, drunken argument while she was sitting on the sofa in her living room,” Mr FitzGibbon said.

“We say Mr See started the fire deliberately, intending to kill her, or at the very least intending to do her really serious bodily harm. That means what he did was murder.”

His work van was discovered by police about an hour later, abandoned near the cargo center at Manchester Airport.

Sandra was only identifiable by a metal plate in her leg



Mr See was found the following day, at about 7pm, lying in the fetal position in a churchyard close to where the van was found.

He had ‘significant’ burns to his hands and feet.

Mr See told the officer his name, and after being asked how he’d been injured, said: “I did it in the fire last night at my mum’s.”

He was interviewed by police on July 26, but made no comment.

Mr See was found curled up in a churchyard



An expert investigation into the cause of the fire determined it had ‘probably started as a result of deliberate ignition’, with an accelerating such as petrol being used.

“The prosecution say that the petrol got there because Mr See threw it in anger, and his mother was the target,” Mr FitzGibbon said.

“He may claim in his defense that the fire and the death was just a terrible accident.

“We say that once you have heard the evidence you will be sure that Mr See murdered his mother by deliberately setting her on fire with petrol.

“He knew what would happen and intended it to happen.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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