Sheffield couple in arson fear

A house on Hassop Close, Dronfield where petrol was poured through a letterbox and then an attempt to light it was made
A house on Hassop Close, Dronfield where petrol was poured through a letterbox and then an attempt to light it was made
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AN IT engineer told how he and his wife could have been killed by arsonists who poured petrol through their letterbox and tried to set it alight.

James Downing, aged 46, said he and wife Kerry, 33, had just finished watching a film and were going to bed when they heard the letterbox rattling at their home on Hassop Close, Dronfield.

He said: “My wife went to have a cigarette before she went to bed and she heard rattling. She told me about it and I thought it was just the wind but then she said she could smell gas.

“I got up to have a look to see if it was from the boiler then we realised the smell was petrol. The doormat was wet. I went outside to see if I could see anyone and when I turned around, I saw scorch marks on the letterbox from where whoever it was had tried to set the petrol alight.”

Mr Downing added: “I’ve no idea why we were targeted but it’s a good job it didn’t catch and that we hadn’t gone to sleep - what could have happened doesn’t bear thinking about.

“The front door is our only means of escape because the windows aren’t good enough so we could have been trapped. We might not have made it out”

Mr Downing said he and his wife, who works as a gas engineer, had called police on the night. No arrests have yet been made in connection with the incident at 11.30pm on Thursday.

■ Witnesses should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.