Two sisters have recalled the moment their heroic father saved a trapped mother and her baby from a burning building set alright by Hull's most infamous serial killer, Bruce Lee.

Peter Dinsdale, nicknamed Bruce Lee the Fire Bug, burnt 15 victims to death in a wave of arson attacks in Hull during the 1970s.

One of the victims was a helpless child who lived next door to sisters Tracey Williamson and Joanne Hooper on Cavill Place during one of the murderer's brutal attacks.

Their father, Stanley Hooper, courageously smashed through their next door neighbours door before saving the baby's mother, Roz, and doing what he could for the child.

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Stanley and Joanne on holiday in 2010
Stanley and Joanne on holiday in 2010

Tracey, 51, says her "absolutely brilliant" father, who sadly passed away in December 2019, often recalled his heroic actions on that fateful day.

Tracey, who would have been around nine at the time, said: "I remember the front door being open and waking up to the flashing blue lights and my mum rushing us out. Everyone was panicking because my dad had booted the door with his foot and all of the glass went everywhere.

"He just went in and brought them out and the next thing we knew he was getting interviewed on ITV Calendar.

“I was really proud of him but really scared at the same time because he was injured.

Stanley and Tracey in 1971
Stanley and Tracey in 1971

"My dad is one of those people who just went on instinct and he knew that there was a baby in there. I suppose anybody would have, you do things without thinking".

Sadly, despite Stanley's best efforts, the baby died as a result of the burns - but the child's mother, Roz, survived.

Joanne Hooper, 45, was aged around four at the time of the attack.

She said: "I was only a baby when it happened but my dad always told the stories of how we were in the Cavill Place maisonettes and there was a young lad going round that was an arsonist.

"He was a fire bug and went round the whole estate. My dad always mentioned a lady called Roz and she was the one that he rescued from the house.

“We used to see her but I can’t remember her surname but she worked in Romeo and Juliet’s cafe at the back of BHS. I would love to find her.

"He told me that he also rescued a baby, but the baby died.

Tracey reckons that her family's home could have easily been one of the fire bug's targets, but feels as though they were spared as her brother, Alan Hooper, knew him at the time.

Tracey (left), her mum Carol (middle) and father Stanley (right)
Tracey (left), her mum Carol (middle) and father Stanley (right)

She said: "He could have put it in our letter box but he put it in next door’s because my brother knew of him. We think he didn't put it in ours because he knew our Alan.

"I only knew of him. I think my mum and dad shielded us from a lot of it because the fire bug's family had a really bad reputation".

Because of Stanley's brave efforts the family were offered a brand new house on a new estate in north Bransholme, and the maisonettes in Cavill Place were later pulled down.

Speaking of her late father, Tracey said: “Every so often if something came up, that was always one of the memories he would talk about. He talked about it with pride.

“He was always there when I needed him, he was absolutely brilliant and he would do anything for me.

"He used to take his grandsons on holidays and away days and everything like that. He was absolutely brilliant, both my mum and dad were. They would do anything for anybody.

"I was 16 when I got pregnant and my dad was there, obviously you have your moments but he came round.

"I am still with my husband now and I was living with my mum and dad for two years with the baby and he was always there for me and my dad and my husband became really really close.

Christine Carol Hooper and Stanley Hooper on their wedding day in 1966
Christine Carol Hooper and Stanley Hooper on their wedding day in 1966

"If I was stuck somewhere and I would ring my dad he would come for us and he would pay a bill if we were ever been stuck.

"He was a lovely man, he would always be trying to climb ladders when he wasn't supposed to. He was very independent."

Read the full timeline of Peter Dinsdale's life and crimes below:

Time Line

The life and crimes of Hull serial killer Bruce Lee

  1. Making a serial killer

    He may be known as Bruce Lee, but his real name is Peter Dinsdale, and from birth Lee was destined for an unconventional childhood in a broken home.

    Lee never knew his father and his mother Doreen, who was a prostitute, abandoned him after he was born by moving to Manchester before returning six months later.

    Needing structure and some form of parental guidance, Lee went to live with his grandmother in New Holland – a small village over the Humber in North Lincolnshire.

    But his childhood was far from stable, with Lee shunted back and forth between relatives before he and his sister were put into care.

  2. 'Daft Peter'

    Lee was born with epilepsy and congenital spastic hemiplegia – a condition which left him with a limp in his right leg. He also had learning difficulties and attended Frederick Holmes School in Inglemire Lane, north Hull.

    After leaving school he carried out a number of odd jobs. He worked the gate at The Boulevard during Hull FC matches, helped out at Hull’s pig market and even tried his hand at being a gardener.

    Lee was a regular at the Victoria pub in Anlaby Road which was almost opposite his home in Cavill Place. He became known to many as “Daft Peter” – an innocuous nickname given to a seemingly harmless teen.

    But little did people realise that Lee had already committed his first arson attack in 1973 at the age of just 13 – and it wasn’t until 1979 that the true horror of his crimes were uncovered.

  3. A six-year wave of terror

    Lee was arrested after a fire at a house in Selby Street, west Hull on December 4, 1979. The blaze killed three brothers – Charles, Peter and Paul Hastie, who were 15, 12 and eight, respectively.

    The boys’ mother Edith survived after being rescued by Charles who pushed her out of an upstairs window. Her other son, Thomas, 15, managed to survive after escaping through a window in the back bedroom.

    Fortunately for Mrs Hastie her other three daughters were staying with relatives that night. Her husband, Tommy Hastie, was in prison.

    On the lookout for potential suspects, police interviewed a number of teenagers, including Lee who volunteered to be questioned about the fire.

    He remained at large for another six months before revealing to Detective Superintendent Ron Sagar he had carried out nine arson attacks in Hull from 1973 onwards.

    His victims included one-year-old Andrew Edwards, who died after an arson attack in Gorthorpe on the Orchard Park estate in June 1976, and six-year-old Richard Ellerington, killed in a fire in Askew Avenue, west Hull, in June 1973.

  4. Life in an asylum

    Lee was detained for life under the Mental Health Act in 1981 and was initially taken to a special hospital in Liverpool before being transferred to Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire.

    The judge was satisfied that Lee suffers from a psychopathic personality disorder and decided he therefore required treatment in hospital.

  5. Record-breaking killer

    Lee’s obsession with fire and fame went hand in hand. He once boasted that his ambition was to “break the Guinness World Record” for serial killers – and only murderous GP Harold Shipman had a greater death toll in Britain.

    Lee appeared at Leeds Crown Court in January 1981 and pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He admitted starting 11 fires which led to the deaths of 26 people. His pleas of not guilty to 26 cases of murder were accepted by the Crown on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

    Stating the fires were Lee's only true achievements in life, prosecutor Gerald Coles told the court: "The mind must have difficulty in encompassing the horror of those fires."

  6. Wensley Lodge conviction overturned

    Lee's conviction for starting the fire at Wensley Lodge in Hessle, which claimed the lives of 11 men aged from 65 to 95, was later overturned by the Court of Appeal in 1983 after evidence proved the fire had been caused by the boiler. This reduced the number of deaths he was responsible for down to 15.

  7. Where is he?

    Lee was last seen out in public in 2016 after being granted day release from the secure Priory Group run unit he was being held in in the Home Counties.

    He has since shown some remorse for his crimes and in an interview with The Mail from Ashworth Top Security Hospital in 1992, he admitted he had changed from the teenager arrested in 1979.

    Then going by his Christian name, Peter, he said: "I had an IQ of 65 and I was very immature when they locked me up. And when they arrested me, I was drunk as a newt. I didn't really have a state of mind at that time. I was confused and drunk and I didn't really know what I was letting myself in for. All I wanted to do was get out."

  8. Lee may walk free after 'miscarriage of justice'

    The CCRC (Criminal Case Review Commission) referred the case back to the Court of Appeal after it found 'new evidence that raises a real possibility' that the convictions will be quashed. It says it has obtained expert evidence that cast doubt on Lee's confessions, which formed a lot of the evidence against him.

    Among new evidence was material that showed the police interviews with him were in breach of the guidelines at the time of his arrest.

    Lee's lawyer said this week: "We are confidence that a serious miscarriage of justice which we believe has been occasioned to Mr Tredget for almost 40 years will be revealed to the court and that the blame ascribed to him for the tragic deaths of all the victims of those fires should no longer be laid at his door."

    The CCRC claims it now has "expert evidence" from a psychologist and forensic linguist that challenges the "veracity" of Lee's confessions. Investigators have also obtained testimony from a "specialist document examiner" that calls into question his written confessions.