A Nottingham City Councillor and former Lord Mayor says she feels lucky to be alive after her car caught fire close to her home in what she believes was a deliberate attack.
The Citroen Xsara Picasso belonging to Councillor Jackie Morris and her husband Andy was completely destroyed by the blaze in the early hours of Monday (September 18) .
Cllr Morris said the vehicle is normally kept next to their house and a motorhome, and the couple “would be dead” if Mr Morris had not happened to have left it parked further down their drive on Bestwood Estate on Sunday.
Cllr Morris, who served as Lord Mayor of Nottingham in 2015 and as Sheriff of Nottingham from 2016-17 also criticised Notts Police, saying the couple felt they had not taken previous reports of anti-social behaviour against them seriously enough.
“It’s basically been fire-bombed – it was an inferno” she told Notts TV.
“There’s nothing left inside, so thank god it wasn’t at the side of our house where it usually is.”
The couple were woken at 1am on Monday by the sound of the car’s alarm. Mr Morris smelt smoke as he went to investigate, and the vehicle burst into flames when he opened the door. He escaped unhurt.
“We think it must have been burning inside already and the air has set it off when the door opened,” Cllr Morris, who represents Bulwell, said.
“He came back inside and said ‘get dressed Jack, the car’s on fire’. It was unbelievable, it was thick black smoke and things inside the engine were exploding, it was a big, big fire.”
She also claimed the incident could be linked to a series of others involving the couple over the last decade, which she says range from a string of burglaries to planks of wood with nails in left on their drive. The couple have fitted metal security shutters to their windows of their home, such is their fear of further incidents, she added.
“It’s getting really dangerous, we just live like it – which I know sounds absolutely bizarre.
“Things on this estate have got so much better over the years and this was a big shock. This was targeted. It wasn’t random.”
She added: “I value the police, but as far as I’m concerned, nothing has been in 11 years to protect us. It’s been our life, we’ve lived like it for so many years. I don’t know and don’t understand it, I can’t work it out.”
The couple called the emergency services and Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service attended “very quickly” and put out the fire, Cllr Morris said.
Notts Police also attended the incident and are investigating.
A force spokesman said: “We are aware that there have been a few anti-social type incidents at the same location over an extended period of time. They have all been investigated thoroughly and the victim has been kept informed.
“We take all of these incidents seriously and will continue to review them. Our residents’ safety is our top priority.”
Mr Morris is a vicar at the united St Matthew St Philip church, Top Valley, where Cllr Morris is a lay minister.
Mr Morris was previously vicar at St Matthew on the Hill Church, Bestwood Estate, but this was itself damaged by fire in July 2009 and has been closed ever since.