Arson attack in Trowbridge ruins precious memories

James Burrell with the burnt remains of the contents of his garage

James Burrell with the burnt remains of the contents of his garage

First published in News by

Former soldier James Burrell has offered a reward to anyone who can help catch callous arsonists who destroyed all his late daughter’s possessions.

Mr Burrell, 66, kept old clothes, pictures and childhood toys belonging to his daughter Mary – who died of septicaemia 11 years ago – in a rented garage at his home in Queen’s Road, Trowbridge.

On July 26 he was devastated to hear it had been set on fire in the early hours of the morning.

He said: “I was at my girlfriend’s house when my daughter called and told me the police had been there. I was shocked and devastated; most of my stuff in there was my dead daughter’s.”

Two fire crews from Trowbridge attended the blaze at 3.20am, by which point the detached garage, which is part of a row of four, was well alight.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel water jet to bring the fire back under control.

Mr Burrell served for nine years in the Army, before moving to Trowbridge in 1975, where he worked as a bus driver and at the Airsprung beds factory.

He lives at the house with his son and grandson. He said: “I came straight up to have a look and just saw it all burning.

“I had a BMX bike in there, grills, chainsaws, and all Mary’s things, which I can never replace. That’s what got me most, because it was sentimental things.

“The garage was fully secure, and only mine was affected, so I’m sure it’s arson.

“I have offered a £100 reward to find the culprit, as that’s all I can afford.”

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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