Belfast Telegraph

Vigilante victim slams 'cowards' who torched car in Derry

BY LEONA O'NEILL

A MAN who was injured trying to extinguish his blazing car outside his Londonderry home says those responsible for the attack are "cowards".

Waren Roberts (46) was awoken at 3.30am by his partner Christine, who saw flames at the front of their Sevenoaks home in the Waterside and found her partner's car ablaze.

The attackers threw a petrol bomb at the bathroom window on the first floor of the house, daubed graffiti on their gable wall branding Waren "drug dealing scum", and scattered tablets and syringes on his driveway.

They also posted a death threat with a bullet through their letterbox and placed a gas canister in his car before setting it alight.

The couple's home was evacuated, as well as dozens of their neighbours' properties, while ammunition technical officers dealt with the device.

Waren was badly burnt on his arm and torso trying to put the fire out. He was later treated in Altnagelvin Hospital.

He said any allegation that he is a drug dealer is totally unfounded and that those who attacked his family are cowards who should face him in person.

"Christine woke me up in the middle of the night and said that my car was on fire," he said.

"I got out of bed in just shorts and tried to put the blaze out.

"I threw water on it, stupidly, and it didn't work. Then a gush of flames came out and burnt my right arm and down my torso. I called the emergency services and they came out. I told them about the gas canister and the death threat and they called the bomb squad."

Waren said that the allegations he is a drug dealer are untrue.

"There was a letter posted through my letterbox with a bullet in it, naming me and threatening me, saying I was a drug dealer and the next time the bullet would be in my head," he said. "There was also graffiti sprayed on the wall saying I was 'drug dealing scum'.

"I don't know where this is all coming from. I do not deal in drugs. I detest drugs. Any stories that are going around about this are totally unfounded.

"To the people who have done this, you are cowards. If you can't come out and face me and try your accusations face-to-face then don't try and hide behind the darkness of night. Face me, be a man and stand up to me. I'll not back down from you."

DUP councillor Drew Thompson said someone could have been killed in the incident.

"I must totally condemn this attack in this very quiet neighbourhood and on the family in this house," he said. "If the gas canister had exploded we would have been looking at a tragedy in a number of homes, with damage to homes and property and very possibly death."

Police said they are working on a motive for the attack.

They have asked anyone with dash-cam footage or who noticed any suspicious activity or vehicles in the area to contact them on 101.

Belfast Telegraph

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