How a hero firefighter went from saving babies to breaking into his stalking victim's home to take photos of her personal belongings
A hero to zero firefighter who saved the life of a baby and tackled some of the biggest blazes in the resort’s recent history has been caged for stalking a woman.
Steve Boyne, who was a watch manager at South Shore and Blackpool fire stations before retiring last September, was jailed for 35 weeks after getting inside his victim’s home while she was at work – before messaging her and describing personal items inside.
He then pulled his hood up and followed her in his car – only being arrested after she flagged down police officers at a petrol station in Kirkham.
The 55-year-old dad, who lived in Helens Close, South Shore, and went on to teach at Fleetwood Nautical College, pleaded guilty and was also slapped with a restraining order banning him from contacting his unnamed victim – who he knew – when he is released.
“This was a very traumatic and disturbing ordeal for the victim, who over a period of several months became concerned by Boyne’s increasingly erratic and worrying behaviour,” PC Natalie Tidmas from Blackpool Police said.
Ex-Navy man Boyne, a former pupil at Montgomery High School in Bispham, began his campaign of terror in February when he sent his victim messages “to say he knew she had a number of items in her house which could not be seen from outside”, police said.
The force did not say what the items were.
The woman reported Boyne to police and said he had a key to her house.
But, later that month, he remained free to turn up at her home and shout through her letter box and an open window.
The woman changed the locks and ordered Boyne to stay away.
The next month, a neighbour saw Boyne’s car nearby – before he approached her with his hood up as she was climbing into her car.
She drove off but he followed her to Kirkham, where police officers at a petrol station were alerted.
Boyne was given “words of advice” and told to go away, Lancashire Police said, with a voluntary interview set up.
When the extent of Boyne’s behaviour became clear, he was finally arrested and charged.
His phone was seized and examined, with cyber cops finding two photos showing the victim’s work calendar from her kitchen.
A time and date stamp proved the shots were taken while the woman was at work.
“When Boyne’s phone information was examined, it proved he had a key to her property and was entering the address when she was at work, taking pictures of her work diary,” PC Tidmas said.
“This must have been very frightening for the victim and I must praise her strength in coming forward, contacting police, and supporting a prosecution.”
Boyne was among eight firefighters from the resort honoured at a ceremony for saving the lives of seven people, including a baby, and a dog after a blaze at a town centre flat in 2007.
He said at the time: “It was fantastic to have all my family there last night to share the moment. There were a lot of camera flashes and emotion.”
Boyne and his hero colleagues were called to a fire in Church Street at around 5.30am on November 15, and found a group of people on the roof of a first floor bay window.
He recalled: “There were people screaming to be rescued. We had to try and coax the people down the ladder, which can be very difficult.
“A few people were still in the building so a couple of my colleagues smashed their way in and rescued them.
“We then had to get the baby and a dog down the ladder to safety, which was very tricky with the dog kicking its feet about.”
All seven people were given the all clear after being treated for the effects of smoke inhalation, with Boyne, who attended the Pride of Lancashire Awards at the Barton Grange Hotel near Preston, saying: “It is the best feeling in the world having saved someone’s life.
“I try to put my family to the back of my mind and focus on the job at major incidents, but it’s not always easy and when children are involved it does make you think about your own children – and their safety.”
He added: “The fire was so hot it had burned the plaster off the wall in the entrance hallway.
"Seven people probably owe their lives to all the firefighters who attended the incident.”
Boyne, who was in the fire service for 30 years, was also involved in efforts to tackle the Yates’s Wine Lodge inferno in the town centre in 2009, and douse flames at South Shore’s Elite Linen, which burnt down in 2017.
He also made visits to local schools to warn youngsters about the dangers of hoax calls, telling The Gazette in 2014: “We have a rota of schools we visit in South Shore, where we talk to Year Six pupils about fire alarms, smoke detectors, fire escapes, and, of course, hoax calls. It seems to work.”
The woman urged other victims to call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.
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