Police have named a man they believe died in a gas explosion at a block of Oxford flats – and revealed they visited him days before as they following concerns over threats he had made.
Officers “strongly suspect” Guido Schuette was killed in the blast that ripped through homes last Tuesday – but warned people not to approach him if he is still alive.
Officers also revealed they had spent a ‘significant period of time’ at the three-story bloc of flats in Gibbs Crescent, Oxford, prior to the blast.
It has emerged Schutte has a past conviction for assault and appeared in court charged with carrying a knife.
In 2015 he was also convicted of harassing a neighbour by playing loud music to annoy her.
Thames Valley Police say they believe the 48-year-old has died but it still remains to be confirmed.
Guido is described as 6ft, heavy build, with short grey hair and blue eyes, walks with a limp and uses a crutch.
The public are being asked not approach him but to call 999 if he is spotted.
However, officers said it was too early to say whether the blast was deliberate.
“Our strong hypothesis is that Guido died in the fire, and we are continuing to offer support to his family at this time.” said local police commander, Supt Joe Kidman.
“However, while our search of the scene continues and this is not confirmed, one line of enquiry within the investigation is that Guido could be missing.”
Firefighters say they are currently making neighbouring buildings in the area safe before the sniffer dogs and officers can begin to remove the remains of the buildings.
A total of 40 households were displaced from their homes as a result of the explosion.
Residents from 19 of those households are still unable to return, but the situation may change within the next few days.
Incident Commander Julian Green said: “Clearly the sequence of events has to be to make the buildings safe first before the removal of rubble begins, so as to ensure safety of personnel.
“We expecting to start removing rubble later today, working with fire and police investigators alongside to determine the cause of the explosion.”