By Crime Correspondent Ron McClane

Former convict Kevin “Melts Stuff” Murtaugh has become a model citizen in his home village of Kegworth in Leicestershire since he was released from prison almost a year ago. The 63 year old was convicted of arson when it was proved he had burnt down a number of bookmakers in 2015. This crime mirrored several other instances where he was put away for burning down places where he owed money to, including a cake shop, earlier in his adult life. But ever since he was last released, Mr Murtaugh got himself a career working at an all night petrol station and hasn’t looked back, and his uplifting story made it to the local papers. He’s been able to keep his job during the lock down, but he’s all too aware of others not so fortunate, people not in essential roles like selling petrol, and he wanted to give something back. He started to think about how he could help these people, and believed he had found the answer. He took to his Facebook page and announced his plan, but he couldn’t believe that his – in his words – foolproof idea didn’t gain any positive response. I interviewed Mr Murtaugh in his petrol station during one of the many lulls in activity, to ask what he’s going to do next.

TDJJ: “Mr Murtaugh, I believe you came up with your plan while working a straight 24 hour shift a few days ago. Can you explain the thought process behind this radical sounding idea.”

KM: “Yeah, Eric didn’t turn up for his shift, didn’t phone or nothing, so I had to do his shift as well. I’ve got a pet fish, but you don’t have to feed everyday, so it wasn’t a big deal. I think I was just worried that because you can’t see the virus, it could be anywhere, even on your chairs, things like that. It might have been because I ate dozens of pasties to stop being bored that affected my mind, but I thought to myself, what kills everything? Fire. So my plan is to burn things for people what they think has the virus on. I got help making a Facebook page with my photo on and said my plan, but only a few people wrote back saying it was a bad idea and I should stop sending messages to them.”

TDJJ: “Did any of the people who responded knew who you were from the local papers?”

KM: “I think so, some of them. I was in the papers because I got a job selling petrol, and they said they’ve read about me. One person I think is foreign from America who told me it was dangerous to mess with fire. And there was a woman who ended up falling out with me about it.”

TDJJ: “Do you think they were concerned for you, worried that your plan will take you back to your criminal ways?”

KM: “I don’t know really, it’s hard to say. I know I’ve been in prison a few times for burning, but this time it’ll be for a good reason. I understand they might not be able to set fire to other people’s stuff themselves, it’s not for everyone. But it is for me!”

TDJJ: “But if no one wants any part of your proposed service, do you have any other plans to get support?”

KM: “I’ll make some videos of me setting things on fire, like a settee and a kettle, maybe even the broken mattress I found yesterday. Show everyone how easy it is for me to get rid of them with fire. People might not be able to understand what I’m asking until I do the videos. Instead of me telling them, this will actually show them how I do it.”

TDJJ: “How certain are you that if you still don’t get anywhere with this, you wouldn’t go ahead with your plans anyway? I’m aware of all your crimes involving arson.”

KM: “Thing is, that was just messing around back then. No one likes paying bills, and no one got hurt. It was all at night when no one was there. As long as I can still burn stuff at a low level, like a few chairs or an oven, then that’ll be enough I think if cops try to put me back in. Plus I don’t drive but I can still get cheap petrol to help the fires.”

TDJJ: “I read that your brother has been helping you since you came out of prison, and got you your first job and generally got you back on the straight and narrow. What does he feel about your plan?”

KM: “He knows about it, but it’s been a few weeks since we fell out about his wife’s dress. He’ll probably try to stop me. But fire is the only sure way to get rid of things. Ask someone like me who knows what they’re talking about.”

Published by The Daily Jabjab

Hi, I'm from Stockport, Greater Manchester England. My plan on my blog is to hone my creative writing and write a post every day this year. It sounds daunting, and I'm sure things will evolve over time. Let me know what you think about my writing - any tips, useful websites and things like that would be quite lovely. Thanks for reading!

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