Arson victims frightened to return home

AN ELDERLY couple say they will not move back to their quiet village home until the arsonist who damaged their cottage and killed their dog is caught.

Peter Cox, 82, and his wife Sylvia, 74, of High Street, Castle Bytham, were lucky to survive a firebomb attack early last Wednesday morning.

They were alerted to the blaze in their front room by their greyhound Toby and were able to climb from their bedroom window with help from a neighbour’s ladder.

But Toby, who was recovering from an injury and would not climb the stairs, was killed in the fire.

The couple had been targeted three times before, but the home-made incendiary devices that were thrown at the outside of their house did not ignite properly.

Police have released a description of a cyclist they want to question about the attack but the couple, who are staying with family, fear further attacks if they move back to the village.

Mr Cox said: “I have no idea why someone would target us like this.

“The first attack took the paint off our front door, but the second two we didn’t even notice until someone pointed out the broken bottle and wick outside.

“It will be six months before the house is repaired, but until the person is caught we are loathe to move back to the village. All things considered we are doing well but I just hope they catch the person who did it.”

Police are looking for a cyclist seen in the area at the time of the incident, which happened at about 2am on Wednesday May 4.

The person was riding a bike with drop-down, racer-style handlebars and was wearing a back pack.

Det Insp Dave Swan said: “We need to trace this person as soon as possible.

“We are calling on anyone who was in or around the village in the early hours of May 4 who may have seen the person on the bike, or who thinks they can identify him or her, to get in touch with us as soon as possible.

“At this stage we have no reason to believe that anyone else in the village or the surrounding area is as risk.”

Anyone with information should contact the police on 0300 111 0300 quoting incident 17 of May 4 2011.