Evil son who burnt his sister alive with a Molotov cocktail made from a Pepsi bottle as revenge for being cut out of their father’s will gets convicted of murder.

An evil son who burnt his sister alive with a Molotov cocktail made from a Pepsi bottle in dispute over their father’s will was convicted of murder today.

Stephen Archer from Manchester had claimed sisters Julie and Gillian poisoned their dad Jeffery, leaving the women with his money and flat – and him with nothing – so he burned Julie alive. 

The 50-year old posted a message on Facebook saying: ‘If fate was to strike you down, then I’ll become next of kin – be careful what you do regarding dad’s money and any paperwork that you sign.’ 

He then turned up at 49-year old Julie’s home in Newton Heath, Manchester, armed with a Molotov cocktail made from an empty bottle of Pepsi.

As she was sat on her sofa, Archer – who also blamed Julie for the death of their uncle – pulled the device from his backpack and emptied the contents of the bottle over her before using his cigarette lighter to turn her into a human fireball.

Mrs Archer suffered 95 per cent burns in the ensuing explosion and was seen walking out of her house in what one witness described a ‘scene from a horror film.’

As she lay fighting for life in hospital Archer – who was ‘obsessed’ with keeping petrol bombs at his home ‘for protection’ – went on the run and wrote his sister a ‘get well soon’ card.

It read: ‘Karma has punished you through me. 

‘I couldn’t kill you and never will but I can’t forgive you for what you did to my dad and uncle. 

‘Tell us the truth who was behind it, was it a secret deal to stitch me up for it. 

‘Come on girl please – Steve.’

He also wrote a note to his elderly mother Wendy and enclosed it in a birthday card adding: ‘Mam just a quick note to say I’m truly sorry for I did to Julie but believed she deserved it for what she did to my dad.’

Julie died three days after the attack on February 29 last year. 

Her teenage daughter Bibi, 19, who was in her bedroom getting ready for college at the time of the blast escaped the fire by jumping 12 feet from an upstairs window.

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Julie (left) died three days after the attack on February 29 last year. Her teenage daughter Bibi (right), 19, who was in her bedroom getting ready for college at the time of the blast escaped the fire by jumping 12 feet from an upstairs window

At Manchester Crown Court, Archer showed no emotion as was convicted of murder after jurors took three hours 23 minutes to reach their majority 10-1 verdict. 

He was cleared of a second charge of arson with intent to endanger the life of Bibi.

The jury was told the killing had been the climax of Archer’s ‘growing hostility’ towards Julie and her youngest sister Gillian. 

Karma has punished you through me 
Murderer Stephen Archer to his sister 

He had been the eldest of four but he never got on with Julie and their pair would fight as children.

When their father developed COPD and then had a stroke he moved into the Brookdale View Care home in Manchester, Julie and Gillian regularly went to see him – but Mr Archer snr instructed staff that he did not want any contact with his son after a series of rows.

Gillian told the hearing: ‘Me and Julie would alternate and take food for him because he didn’t like the food there as he was fussy. 

‘Stephen contacted me asking to go and see dad and I always tried to keep the peace – but he turned up himself and said he didn’t want to see him.

‘Stephen asked them to let him in even if it was just for dad to swear at him. 

‘He wanted to hear that himself.’

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Mr Archer snr passed away in January 2016 and when his brother Russell did a few weeks later, Archer reported their deaths as suspicious to police and posted Facebook messages saying they were ‘not a coincidence.’

Gillian added: ‘Stephen reacted badly after my dad’s death but his behaviour got a lot worse when Russell died. 

‘He was convinced me and my sister killed both of them, he was writing things on Facebook. 

‘I asked him to stop writing things and I also text him saying “if anyone killed dad it’s you stressing him”. 

But Stephen was convinced that it was Julie who had put my dad in the home.

‘He had an obsession with petrol and petrol bombs and there was once an incident when a gang of youths attacked Stephen and there was a smell of petrol. 

I said to him: “Why can I smell petrol?”, Stephen said, “Don’t worry about them, I’ve got rid of them”.

I said: “What have you got petrol bombs for?’ And he said “in case them d**kheads came back”.’

She added: ‘Stephen imagined conspiracies against him. 

‘The police, doctors, even lawyers were trying to kill him – and he would try to prove his conspiracy theories right. 

‘He felt we were keeping him away from our father – even though that was dads choice.

‘There was once a mix up with dad’s bank account and Julie was unable to draw money out. 

‘But when Stephen heard about this he thought the nursing home tried to steal money from my dad. He thought the home was trying to finish off our father.

‘He blamed Julie more than me and was obsessed with proving that she was responsible for the deaths. 

‘He wanted Julie to be punished for what he thought she had done by going to prison. 

‘Julie told me she was scared – but we were both scared because of Stephen’s behaviour. 

‘To me he was unstable and I was worried what he was going to do.’

In a series of text messages to Gillian, Archer said: ‘Don’t accuse me of murdering my dad when you and Julie are the key suspects taking food in. 

‘Don’t bug me at this time of night. Gill get your head down for f**ks sake and let the toxicology rule out my suspicions. Justice will look after you.’

 

Other messages read: ‘My finger was at Julie who I suspected was the one robbing him. 

‘I know we were close as kids, I looked after your kids as best I could but I think somethings corrupted you and you’re scared of grassing. 

‘I don’t like how they have both died on me like this. 

‘If my mam knows it was Julie I hope she doesn’t cover for her. She needs to do time.’

‘I still think you were drawn into the food game by Julie, you have been used by her so she can finish him off in there and hide all she took off him. 

‘Get one thing straight, I ain’t ever going to make myself ill to eliminate my suspicions. 

‘If you want to expose anything, threaten to show up.’

On the day of the tragedy, Bibi was getting dressed to go to college when she saw Archer arrive at the house wearing a dark baseball cap and carrying a backpack and walk into the lounge where Julie was heard to refer to him as ‘Darling.’

Bibi told the hearing: ‘I was playing music and drying my hair when I suddenly felt the ground heat up and felt a shaking, I actually thought it was an earthquake at first and just carried on getting ready but my dog would not shut up crying at the door and as I saw smoke had come up the stairs.

‘While I was at the window deciding how to get out I could see my neighbours telling me to jump and I could see my mum. 

‘She was naked and her face was red, her eyes were red and her hair was greasy. 

‘Her clothes had completely burnt off her.

‘She was dragging herself up the driveway towards the gate. 

‘I screamed and she turned and started to walk towards the front door again. 

‘She was dragging herself and I jumped from the window and neighbours came to help me.’

 

Mark Kellet, prosecuting said: ‘Neighbours described the horrendous nature of Julie’s injuries like something from a horror move. 

‘One describes how her clothes had melted leaving an imprint on her skin. Both described how the skin was dripping from her body.’

As Julie was flown to hospital by helicopter she told a paramedic: ‘He’s done it – he’s thrown it at me’ and later confirmed to doctors: ‘My brother Stephen, he’s been threatening to kill me and my sister for the last three weeks since our dad died.’

As a police manhunt began for Archer, officers went to his home in Openshaw and found white spirit and an A4 pad upon which was written a list saying: 

  • A: Unlucky k**bheads
  • B: Hand your notice in lol
  • C: I will be pickin use off’

He was arrested on March 4 after being spotted buying a train ticket at New Mills railway station. 

As he was about to be detained, Archer pulled a petrol bomb from his back pack and moved a lighter towards the bottle but was overpowered by officers using a fire extinguisher. 

As he was led away he told officers: ‘I’m sorry I did not mean to kill her – I just wanted to main her.’

He later wrote a letter to prosecutors saying his sister had ‘self immolated’ in a ‘freak accident’ then claimed he threw petrol at his sister whilst she was trying to ‘jab’ him during a row and she went up in flames as she was smoking a cigarette at the time.

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