Lancashire Police refers itself to watchdog over fatal Clayton-le-Woods explosion
Lancashire Police has referred itself to the police watchdog following a fatal explosion in Clayton-le-Woods.
Carl Whalley, 57, died after a suspected explosion at his semi-detached home in Kirkby Avenue at around 1.30pm on Friday (October 15).
On Monday (October 18), the Post revealed Mr Whalley claimed he was the target of a bomb threat four years ago.
After the allegations surfaced online, officers confirmed they were looking into the claim as part of their enquiries.
They also confirmed they were in the process of reviewing the circumstances of the incident to determine whether a mandatory referral to the Independent Office of Police Conduct was required.
Today (October 20), the IOPC confirmed it had received a referral from Lancashire Police "due to the fact officers had contact with the occupant prior to the incident".
"We are assessing the available information to determine what further action may be required," a spokesman said.
"Our thoughts are with all those affected by this tragedy."
At the time of the alleged bomb threat Mr Whalley told an LEP reporter: "The man said he'd firebomb my house.
"I've told the police and sent them a recording of him saying it, but they said they couldn't take it any further because the threat wasn't made to me personally."
The Post contacted Lancashire Police in March 2017 to ask about his claim and was told it was being investigated, but it is believed no action was taken.
Det Chief Inspector Jill Johnston, of Lancashire Police, said: "My thoughts continue to be with Mr Whalley's loved ones at this time.
"We have officers who are supporting them and we are keeping them fully updated on the progress of our investigation."
She added: "We continue to work through the evidence we have to try and establish the cause of the fire and our enquiries include looking through CCTV footage and other digital media and speaking to witnesses.
"For those reasons it may take some time before we are able to give a definitive cause for the fire.
"We continue to investigate suggestions of a neighbour dispute and looking into these as part of our enquiries."
The blast on Friday completely demolished Mr Whalley's house.
Residents were evacuated and given refuge in the local pub and also a nearby primary school until the area could be declared safe.
A joint investigation between police and Lancashire Fire and Rescue was launched and enquiries are ongoing.
Anyone with information has been urged to contact 101, quoting log number 0756 of October 15.
Information can also be reported online at doitonline.lancashire.police.uk.
Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via crimestoppers-uk.org.
It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you.
For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription HERE and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.