Composite image brings new leads in Geraldton’s Victoria Hotel arson investigation

Headshot of Liam Beatty
Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
The old Victoria Hotel ablaze in the early hours of the morning on February 19.
Camera IconThe old Victoria Hotel ablaze in the early hours of the morning on February 19. Credit: Joshua Clinton

Police say a composite image of a man wanted for questioning over the arson incident which destroyed the historic Victoria Hotel in Geraldton this year has led to new lines of inquiry.

Geraldton Detectives officer-in-charge Det-Sen. Sgt Bruce McDonald said the image, which was based on information received over the course of the three-month investigation, had been “very successful”.

“We are receiving valuable information from the public and identifying further lines of inquiry,” he said.

Detectives want to speak to this man. Do you recognise him?
Camera IconDetectives want to speak to this man. Do you recognise him? Credit: WA Police/Supplied

“I expect we will make arrests in relation to the fire soon.”

The composite image was released by police on Thursday to track down a young man they believe will assist with inquiries into the blaze which destroyed the 159-year-old hotel.

Most recently operating as the Blue Heelers Tavern, the building has sat derelict for more than 10 years after being bought by a now-defunct investment company — Geraldton Investments Pty Ltd.

The fire was reported in the second storey of the structure about 12.40am on February 19, with firefighters battling for more than 10 hours to save surrounding structures.

At the request of the City of Greater Geraldton, demolition contractors salvaged well-known artworks and parts of the original stonework “for historical purposes”.

“We are still keen to hear from anyone that may have information that could assist us further,” Det-Sen. Sgt McDonald said.

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