Belfast Telegraph

Armagh dad claims he's victim of vendetta as family cars destroyed in latest attack

By Cate McCurry

A father has spoken of his terror after an arsonist torched the family cars outside their house yesterday morning.

Husband and wife Stephen and Christine Crawford were asleep in their Co Armagh home with their three young children during the terrifying attack.

CCTV images show a man pouring flammable liquid over the wheel of Mrs Crawford's VW Touran and setting it alight shortly before 1am yesterday.

Four vehicles were damaged in the incident at Baird Avenue in Donaghcloney.

Mr Crawford (49) said it was the third time his family had been targeted. Their kitchen windows have been smashed on two occasions.

The father-of-three said: "Both our family cars were completely destroyed in this attack and we are devastated.

"We have no idea why we are being targeted like this. We only moved into the house in August last year.

"Now that we have no cars I can't go to work and the children can't be left to school, which is 15 miles away."

The family's seven-seater car was gutted, while his work van was also destroyed.

"After our kitchen windows were smashed in November the people came back and smashed the glass again. So we had to pay £600 to protect the outside of the house, and install CCTV too," he said.

The couple were sleeping at the back of the property and were not alerted to the fire until police officers called to their home.

Their children - who are aged two, three and four - were also asleep.

Mr Crawford said he believed there was a "vendetta" against him and he feared for his family's future in the area.

"When I saw what happened the adrenaline kicked in, it was complete madness and we were upset," he said.

"I feel like I can't protect my family. We have three young children here and not one person came to us to say the cars were on fire.

"I can't go to work, the doctor has had to sign me off on sick leave. Christine uses her car to take the kids around and she can no longer do that.

"It looks like we will have to leave the area. It's not stopping, it's getting worse and worse.

"Up until last night I had 100 litres of oil in the back of the van. If that was still there it would have been a fire bomb."

A police spokeswoman said the PSNI was investigating.

"It was reported that shortly before 1am a fire was started on the wheel arch of a Volkswagen parked on the street. The fire then spreads to three other vehicles parked nearby. All four vehicles sustained significant damage as a result of the fire," she said.

Belfast Telegraph


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