Manhunt in the UK after woman is doused in petrol and set alight

Police say Stephen Archer may be carrying several petrol bombs

Manchester, set alight, Stephen Archer, Surbiton Road, Newton Heath, police

An undated photo of Stephen Archer | Image: Greater Manchester Police

British police are hunting a 50-year-old man after a woman was doused in petrol and set alight in Manchester.

Officers fear Stephen Archer (50) may be carrying several petrol bombs after attacking a woman reported to be his sister.

They described him as "particularly dangerous and unstable" and said he was "obsessed" with petrol.

The 49-year-old woman suffered 70% burns and is in a critical condition.

Police were called to an address in Surbiton Road, Newton Heath, shortly before 9.45am on Monday.

A 19-year-old woman escaped unharmed from an upstairs window with help from neighbours.

Superintendent Arif Nawaz said: "This is a horrific incident and I cannot imagine what the victim is going through".

"We can assure her and the wider public that we are doing all that we can to try and find the person responsible. We have a large multi-skilled team currently searching for Stephen Archer".

"We believe Stephen may have links to Openshaw, where he lives, and the Marple and Romiley areas where we know he has connections. Our search, however, is not limited to those areas".

"We have reason to believe Stephen could be carrying several bottles of petrol in his backpack and a man was seen fitting his description cycling away from the scene."

"Police are treating the incident as attempted murder".

Addressing Archer, Supt Nawaz added: "Stephen, if you should see this appeal, come and talk to police. We can end this situation in a calm manner and find out what led to this tragic situation".