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‘To me it’s attempted murder’: Man’s fury as arsonist evades justice for torching Norwich flat

PUBLISHED: 14:34 06 March 2019

Robert Royal pictured at his former flat, on Penn Grove in Norwich, which was damaged by fire.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Robert Royal pictured at his former flat, on Penn Grove in Norwich, which was damaged by fire. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A man who bravely helped save others from a burning block of flats has told of his anger that no-one has been brought to justice 18 months on from the arson attack.

Firefighters said it was “very lucky“ no-one was seriously injured or killed following a fire which ripped through a flat in Penn Grove, off Aylsham Road, Norwich, in the early hours of September 9 2017.

Robert Royal lived in the flat above the property that was torched and helped alert others to the danger after being woken by his smoke alarm.

He banged on doors and shouted for people to get out, having seen smoke pour into his property and flames at his windows.

The 48-year-old lost his home following the fire but today police have confirmed no suspects have been identified and admitted there weare no further lines of enquiry unless new evidence came to light.

Mr Royal said he was “angry, bitter and disappointed” that nothing had been done in terms of catching the culprit.

He said: “Someone has tried to kill people and they’ve got away with it scot-free. It’s a total travesty. I feel bitter that someone has got away with it - to me it’s attempted murder.”

Mr Royal has today urged anyone with any information about the arson attack to get in touch with police to help them solve the crime.

The fire meant Mr Royal had to move out of the home he had been in for nine years and find other accommodation in Sprowston Road.

He also lost a job he had started just six weeks before the blaze, but despite a difficult 18 months he has now found new rented accommodation on Cromer Road, Norwich.

He has also started a job with a building supplies company which is to become permanent from next week.

He said: “There’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “All enquiries have been completed and no suspects identified. There are no further lines of enquiry unless new evidence comes to light.”

As previously reported almost 20 firefighters fought to bring the blaze under control after crews from Sprowston, Earlham and Carrow raced to the scene.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.

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