Pensioner collapses after arson attack terror


Rebecca Cole

A PENSIONER collapsed minutes after arsonists torched a car on her driveway.

The woman – named locally as Dorothy Dudley-Smith, who is in her 70s – was rushed to Wrexham Maelor Hospital after firefighters discovered her red Ford Fiesta engulfed in flames outside her home on The Orchards, on the outskirts of Caia Park.

It is understood she is in a serious condition.

A man has been arrested and is currently being questioned by police. Chief Inspector Alex Goss said: “We are treating this incident extremely seriously and have increased high visibility patrols in the area.

“Car arson is a serious and dangerous crime and we are appealing for the community to work with us to bring those responsible to justice.

“We are unsure at this stage whether this incident is linked to a recent spate of arson attacks in the area although a thorough and in-depth investigation is taking place.

“The police, council and North Wales Fire and Rescue Service are working closely together to ensure this matter gets the up most attention.

“Together we will reassure the local communities and keep them informed of the work taking place.”

Caroline Edwards, who lives next door to Mrs Dudley-Smith and her husband Eric, woke to the sound of an explosion.

She told the Leader: “The car was engulfed in flames.

“It was so scary because we knew the couple were in and the fire was so close to the house.”

Resident Louise Bain added: “This kind of shock can have a serious impact on the health of an elderly person and I hope she will make a speedy recovery.

“You would hope this would shock the arsonists into stopping but I’m sure they still won’t give a damn.”

Previously, Smithfield councillor Keith Gregory had voiced fears it would only be a matter of time before someone was hurt as a result of arson.

“It’s been going on for a long time in Caia Park and could do someone real damage,” he said.

“I’ve heard the owner of the car collapsed from the shock of seeing their car go up in flames.”

Whitegate councillor Marc Jones wants to reassure the public that he was working with the police and fire authorities to bring the mayhem to an end.

He said: “All we want is to make sure the individuals causing these fires and criminal damage are caught and the community needs to come together to help that. It must stop now.”

A spokesman for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service were called to the address at 4am and confirmed the car had been totally destroyed.

North Wales Ambulance Service were called 11 minutes later to reports the woman had collapsed and she was rushed to Wrexham Maelor Hospital.

Anyone with information can call North Wales Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

The attack comes just days after vandals smashed five cars and stole two more in Benjamin Road and Hightown Road, just along from The Orchards in the early hours of Saturday.

And it is the latest in a spate of arson attacks on cars in the Caia Park and Hightown areas of Wrexham which spiked on Bonfire Night when there were 16 fires in one night in the town, including four attacks on cars.

See full story in the Leader

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