Committee Members

Leigh Richards President

Leigh joined the West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) in 1995 and following various operational promotions moved into the Fire Investigation and Prevention Section in 2012 as a dedicated Fire Investigation Officer.
He has been involved in many criminal cases and has presented his evidence in Crown Court as well as Coroners Court for many of the fatal fire scenes he has investigated. He has been awarded a Master of Science degree from the university of Wolverhampton and is a Graduate of the Institute of Fire Engineers (GiFireE)

Chris Ward Vice President

Chris served for more than 30 years in the Fire Service achieving the rank of Group Manager, carrying out various roles including the responsibility for Fire Investigation.  He has continued to work in the field of Firefighting, Fire Investigation and Training since leaving the service.

He is highly skilled with a proven track record and has worked both in this country and abroad, Chris was awarded an Honours Degree and is a Member of the Institution of Fire Engineers.

Deon Webber Immediate Past President

Deon Webber served for almost 35 years as a professional Fire Officer with the Greater Manchester Fire Service from April 1975 to January 2010. As the head of Fire Investigation for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, he regularly delivered fire investigation training to Fire, Police and Prison Officers as well as Crime Scene Investigators and students of Forensic Science. He is an Associate Tutor at the University of Central Lancashire, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Fire Service College. Deon is a Fellow of, and senior examiner and marker for the Institution of Fire Engineers and has been the North West Regional Representative for the UK-AFI since 2008. 

Emma Wilson

After graduating with a Bachelors degree in Medical Biochemistry and a Masters degree in Biomolecular Archaeology, Emma spent almost 9 years with the Forensic Science Service (FSS), carrying out work for the police services of England and Wales. Beginning in the DNA unit and later working in the toxicology and drugs departments, in 2005 she joined the Fire Investigation Unit.

John Gow

I served for almost thirty one years with Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service (SFRS) the last 12 years of which was as a full time fire investigator.

I began my career as an investigator in 1998 when SFRS established the first full time FI unit in Scotland. I had the opportunity to be involved in the development of the unit from the ground up being fully involved in the development of the section and it’s Modus Operandi.

Dai Hancock

An employee of the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) for 27 years David is currently a serving Group Manager in the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service in the role of Head of Business Fire Safety with a team of 42 enforcement and administrative staff; he has previously performed a variety of operational and specialist roles; a confident and self-motivated professional with extensive emergency response and incident management experience, including the development of emergency plans and procedures for top tier COMAH environments; has delivered the enforcement of fire safety legislation and

Dave Bristow


Dave joined the Fire Service in 1993.  Having served in a number of roles over the past 26 years, he is currently a temporary Group Manager, managing Service Delivery within Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, where he also leads a team of 13 Fire Investigation Officers.  He is also an active member of the Yorkshire and Humber regional Fire Investigation team, who support the region at complex fire scenes. 

Jonathan Stewart


I have been employed within the  the fire Industry for 31 years,  and completed my service with Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service (GMFRS) in March 2019. I am now the Director of Modus Fire Investigation and Training Ltd.

Mike Broadley

Mike Broadley served 12 years in the RAF Fire & Rescue Service and was stationed in Norfolk, Hampshire, and Lincolnshire. During this time Mike served in the Falklands as well as completing three tours of duty in Afghanistan in the role of Watch Officer with the bolt on of fire investigator. After completing his training with Gardner Associates, Mike shadowed both Fire Investigation teams in Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service and the West Midlands Fire Service.