Family fears for safety after Welwyn Garden City arson attack

PUBLISHED: 06:36 26 September 2011 | UPDATED: 11:28 26 September 2011

Stuart Lee, Joanna McCarthy and seven-month old William, outside their Lincoln Close home after the arson attack

Stuart Lee, Joanna McCarthy and seven-month old William, outside their Lincoln Close home after the arson attack


A YOUNG couple and their baby son are living in temporary accommodation after their WGC home was targeted by arsonists for the second time in a year.

Stuart Lee and Joanna McCarthy had lived at 102 Lincoln Close with seven-month old son William for three months when a fire was started deliberately outside their house, in the early hours of Wednesday, September 14.

A tyre had been propped up against the front door and set alight – in an almost identical attack to one 11 months ago.

Then, on October 13, 2010, a tyre was set alight outside the property.

The fire was reported by the Welwyn Hatfield Times and also investigated by police, who arrested a suspect who was later released without charge.

But Stuart and Joanna said they weren’t told about the arson by Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust before they moved in – even though they asked what had caused the fire.

“They said they didn’t know,” said Joanna. “We thought it was electrical, and that it had been fixed.

“If I’d known, I wouldn’t have moved in at all.”

Joanna’s step-mum, Sarah McCarthy, added: “They asked the question, and they said they didn’t know anything. “But speaking to the housing officer today, it seemed they knew all about it.”

A housing officer said: “Housing officers are in close liaison with the family and doing all they can to assist. We have secured temporary accommodation for the Lees in the meantime.”

Before the fire, Joanna and Stuart said they had also found used syringes left on their doorstep.

Neighbour Lee Burgess said it was not unusual for him to find needles in the road.

“The needles have been turning up for about two years,” he said. “It’s frustrating, nothing seems to be being done about it.”

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