Arson attack leaves couple devastated

AN ELDERLY couple today told of their shock after they became the latest victims of arsonists who targeted their car while it was parked outside their home.

AN ELDERLY couple today told of their shock after they became the latest victims of arsonists who targeted their car while it was parked outside their home.

Patricia and Denis Wakeling were terrified to find their silver Toyota Yaris burning just 20 yards from their Ipswich home, with flames and thick black smoke filling the air.

Mrs Wakeling, 69, was reduced to tears after the car was torched and said: “It was really scary. I just sat and cried when it happened, I was so upset.”

The arson attack is the latest in a string of dangerous vandalism attacks against cars parked in Ipswich streets.


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Mrs Wakeling said: “At about 4.20am I got out of bed to go to the loo and all of a sudden I heard this loud bang.

“I could see this orange glow through the front panel of my porch door and when I opened the door I could see the car with the flames coming out and I was screaming at my husband 'the car is on fire, the car is on fire!'”

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The car, which was parked on the road outside the couple's Ritabrook Road home, burst into flames after another parked car, belonging to a neighbour, was broken into and had its hand brake let off.

The car then rolled backwards down the hill and crashed into the Toyota. The Yaris was then set alight and the arsonists fled.

Mr and Mrs Wakeling watched as firefighters took 15 minutes to extinguish the flames.

Mrs Wakeling said: “I could see black smoke and everything bellowing out and the glass from the car windows was exploding everywhere.”

Mr Wakeling, 79, said it was lucky his wife heard the bang, otherwise the fire could have reached the house without him knowing.

He said: “I just heard a faint bang because I'm deaf in both ears and I have to wear a hearing aid.

“We were worried that the explosion would set the whole house on fire.”

The Wakelings say that despite a break-in three years ago, the neighbourhood is usually quiet, safe and friendly.

Ken Poole, 61, also of Ritabrook Road, owned the red Nissan Micra that was sent rolling down the hill into the back of the Wakelings' Yaris.

He said: “When I came out it was leaning on my neighbour's car and now it's all melted on the back and the lights and windows are damaged.

“It's a quiet place to live really, we support each other because we have all been here for a long time and we know each other.”

Have you been a victim of a similar crime? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Path of devastation: Recent car fires in Ipswich

Yesterday: Ritabrook Road

Thursday: Broadmere Road

Tuesday, April 17: Bramble Wood, Christchurch Street (four cars), Cobham Road, Hawke Road, Heather Avenue

Monday, April 16: Ellenbrook Road, Landseer Park

Sunday, April 15: Woodrush Road

Saturday, April 14: Hurricane Place (three cars)

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