Family escape arson attack on Co Armagh house

Three people have escaped injury after a car was set on fire and pushed up against their home in Richhill, Co Armagh
Three people have escaped injury after a car was set on fire and pushed up against their home in Richhill, Co Armagh

Arsonists set light to a Co Armagh home with a family still grieving for their son who was stabbed to death five years ago sleeping inside.

A burning car was pushed against the house in Elm Park, Richill, early on Wednesday morning.

Three people have escaped injury after a car was set on fire and pushed up against their home in Richhill, Co Armagh

Three people have escaped injury after a car was set on fire and pushed up against their home in Richhill, Co Armagh

Cecil and Barbara Williamson - both in their 60s - and their 30-year-old son Robert David were able to escape from the property safely.

Five years ago - in August 2011 - their 21-year-old son Marc Williamson was killed in Portadown.

A number of nearby homes were evacuated by police as a precaution while the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service dealt with the blaze.

Mrs Williamson told the BBC: “Mark’s dead five years in August coming up and if Robert David hadn’t been up I’d have lost another son.

Three people have escaped injury after a car was set on fire and pushed up against their home in Richhill, Co Armagh

Three people have escaped injury after a car was set on fire and pushed up against their home in Richhill, Co Armagh

“Maybe we’d have all been away, but I’d definitely have lost another son.”

Mrs Williamson says she believes she knows who started the fire.

“It’s a long story,” she said, “but they got the wrong car, I’m sure they meant to burn out my car.”

Mrs Williamson says the family are now homeless.

“We’ve lost everything”, she said.

Police said they were working to establish a motive and appealed for anyone with information to contact them.

UUP Councillor Jim Speers who visited the family this morning said: “I know the family fairly well and was there this morning to see them. “Obviously the family are devastated and thankful they managed to get out alive. It was an horrific attack on the property and the burned out car in the car port adjacent to the house.

“The fire moved fairly quickly onto the house. The son of the family was sleeping in the rear of the house and they feel very lucky to get out alive.”