Nearly three years after Wayne Trotter was burnt alive on the Farriers Way estate, residents say their lives are still affected by the murder. LOUISA BARNETT talks to some of those who can't forget.

Just after midnight on December 5, 2002, Wayne Trotter was doused in petrol and set on fire in the Farriers Way estate in Borehamwood.

The 30-year-old father was burnt alive on his way home from the plastics factory in Hendon where he worked as a shift team leader.

Wayne was killed just yards from the home he shared with his wife, then pregnant with his daughter, and his three-year-old son.

Nearly three years on, his killers have yet to be found.

But while police struggle to bring those responsible for this brutal murder to court, how are those left behind on the estate coping?

A year on from his murder, in December 2003, Wayne's last moments were recreated on BBC's Crimewatch programme.

The reconstruction showed an actor playing Wayne getting on a bus at Elstree and Borehamwood train station and travelling to Furzehill Road.

From there he walked along Farriers Way and on to Dales Path, where he was killed.

However, there was a 20-minute period, between Wayne getting off the bus and the first screams being heard, which police are still trying to piece together.

The first scream was apparently from a woman or girl. She said: "Stop it, stop it, leave him alone," just before residents discovered Wayne on fire.

Police appealed for that person to come forward but to this day, they have heard nothing.

After Wayne was set alight, he knocked on the doors of five houses in the estate, and shortly before collapsing, neighbours heard him say: "They threw something at me. I was blinded and could not see a thing."

Local residents poured pans of water over him and wrapped him in blankets to extinguish the flames before ambulance and fire crews arrived.

They were too late and despite the help of the neighbours, Wayne suffered 90 per cent burns to his body.

In the aftermath of Wayne's death, as police began the painstaking investigation, some neighbours found it too much to take and moved from the area.

Wayne's widow also decided to leave the estate, emigrating to Ireland with their children.

The sight of burn marks on the grass and tarmac, and the stark realisation that such a horrific attack happened footsteps from their homes, had a profound affect on many estate residents.

Tracy Peters, of Dales Path, said: "He was set on fire just outside my home. Here you can still see the scorch marks outside my house. I couldn't go out and help him that night as my baby daughter was upstairs screaming and I couldn't leave her alone, but I still feel guilty about that to this day.

"My next-door neighbour helped and I doubt it is something she will ever get over. How can you? She had Wayne's burnt handprint on her door for months.

"Initially, people who wanted to move couldn't as nobody would buy a house on the estate because of what happened, but now everyone seems to be selling. Three years on, it is still very much at the forefront of people's minds."

One of her neighbours, Penny Brim, said that ever since Wayne's murder, her son, now aged 11, has not been the same.

"Since the murder, he has had trouble sleeping and still does even now. He's very nervous and edgy and wants to leave but we can't. It's just scary that those who did it are still walking around."

Caroline Whiteman, also from Dales Path, said: "It made me feel physically sick. You watch programmes like The Bill and see things like that but never expect it to happen on your doorstep.

"After it happened, my children and I started sleeping downstairs together as we were petrified. We didn't want to be alone.

"Time doesn't make you any less scared. Every time you walk down the road, you always remember. It's there all the time in the back of your mind. You constantly wonder if you are walking with the murderers. That will never go away."

Shortly after Wayne's murder, residents formed a Neighbourhood Watch group, covering Dales Path, Clydesdale Close, Clydesdale Path, Dales Road, Halter Close and Suffolk Close.

They still hold monthly meetings, discussing crime and anti-social behaviour and passing on any information to the local ward constables.

Also, after years of campaigning for tighter security, their wish was finally granted this summer when new security measures were introduced on the estate.

Railings have been installed at Clydesdale Close and Hunter Walk, and £6,000 has been spent by Hertfordshire Highways to improve the lighting.

Shrubs have also been cut down in Hackney Close and Dales Path to ensure better visibility on the estate.

Hertsmere Borough Council's parks department has also been working to cut down overgrown trees to remove places where troublemakers can congregate and hide.

Councillor Sandra Parnell, who spearheaded the campaign for greater security, said: "We are trying our best but there is still a lot to do.

"We have lots more plans to improve security on the estate and to make the residents feel safe. That's the most important thing of all.

"The residents who saw Wayne that night will never get over what they saw. It will never leave their minds."

Hertsmere Neighbourhood Watch will be recruiting new members outside Farriers Way Community Centre on September 30 and 31.

Anyone with any information about Wayne's murder should call the incident appeal line on 01707 354236 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.