A Tower Hamlets family with three children – one disabled – escaped unhurt after a firebomb attack on their home in the middle of the night. A neighbouring house was also shot at, in what detectives think was a related incident.
Police are appealing for information about the incidents in the early hours of Thursday morning, which they believe was connected to an altercation which took place several hours previously between a resident of the firebombed house and a passing motorist .
The emergency services were called to the terraced property in Antill Terrace, E1, at around 02:50 on Thursday morning where they discovered that a crude petrol bomb – constructed from a milk bottle filled with flammable liquid – had been thrown through the living room window.
The resulting blaze was extinguished by London Fire Brigade, and none of the house’s occupants – a couple, a relative and three young children, one of whom has cerebral palsy – were injured.
Officers also discovered a hole in the living room window of the house next door, suspected to be related to an earlier report of a shot being fired in the area at around 02:30. A bullet was later located inside.
According to detectives, the events may be connected to an earlier incident, in which a 40-year-old man leaving the house – where a party had been taking place – on a bicycle was struck by a black VW Golf, which knocked him to the ground and grazed his leg.
The motorist stopped and the two were involved in an angry exchange of words which led to an altercation, during which the motorist suffered a cut to his head.
Police calmed the situation down and no arrests were made. The motorist left the scene, though some witnesses later told police he was alleged to have threatened to shoot the cyclist.
Detective Inspector Stewart Garrick of Tower Hamlets CID, who is leading the inquiry with colleagues from Operation Trident, said: “These cowardly attacks have needlessly threatened the lives of the occupants of two addresses.
“Clearly a strong line of inquiry is that the shooting and arson could be linked to the earlier altercation involving a car driver, especially as we now know he had allegedly threatened to shoot the cyclist.”
“I appeal to anyone who witnessed the exchange between the cyclist and the driver, or the incidents in the early hours of Thursday morning, to come forward.”
“It is essential that anyone with information does make it known, as this could so easily have resulted in a murder inquiry.”
The driver of the VW Golf is described as black, and thought to be in his late twenties or early thirties.
If you have any information, you can call Limehouse Police Station on 020 7275 4772 – or, for anonymity, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.