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Van retired couple use to visit son’s grave is burnt out in Norwich arson attack

PUBLISHED: 16:20 23 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:06 24 December 2017

Michael Loader's van was destroyed by an arsonist on the Larkman Estate. Picture: Jacob Massey

Michael Loader's van was destroyed by an arsonist on the Larkman Estate. Picture: Jacob Massey

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A retired couple’s van has been burnt out on the Larkman Estate in Norwich.

Michael Loader's van was destroyed by an arsonist on the Larkman Estate. Picture: Jacob MasseyMichael Loader's van was destroyed by an arsonist on the Larkman Estate. Picture: Jacob Massey

Michael and Susan Loader were in their house in Wilkins Court at around 8pm when they noticed a man in a hoodie smashing the window of their van before setting it alight.

As the perpetrator fled, Mr Loader, 69, attempted to put out the fire with a bucket of water, however, flames rapidly engulfed the vehicle as the engine exploded.

Neighbours held Mr Loader back as firefighters extinguished the blaze, but the Renault Kangoo was damaged beyond repair.

Mr Loader suffers from atrial fibrillation, an enlarged heart and asthma and went to hospital last week after having an angina attack in his sleep.

Michael Loader's van was destroyed by an arsonist on the Larkman Estate. Picture: Jacob MasseyMichael Loader's van was destroyed by an arsonist on the Larkman Estate. Picture: Jacob Massey

Mr Loader said that at this point in his life, all he wants is to live in peace.

He said: “I am a very ill man, and this sort of drama is the last thing I need. There are lots of other old and unwell people living around here too and the loud bang from the explosion could quite easily have given someone a heart attack.”

The Loaders bought the van six months ago to replace their Peugeot which was written off in an almost identical incident in 2015.

However, Mr Loader thinks their insurance premiums will be too high for them to claim this time.

Michael Loader's van was destroyed by an arsonist on the Larkman Estate. Picture: Jacob MasseyMichael Loader's van was destroyed by an arsonist on the Larkman Estate. Picture: Jacob Massey

He said: “We claimed on the Peugeot but then insurance sky rocketed and it took us a lot of time to find insurance we could afford.

“I reckon it will cost me about £2000 to insure another car if I claim on the van and we only have a small pension, so I think we will have to live without transport from now on.”

Mrs Loader said she regularly used the van to visit her son’s grave.

She said: “He dropped dead when he was 16 and Michael and I regularly visit his grave with a lawnmower and tidy it up.

“I have arthritis too so it is hard for me to get around and I relied on the van to see my grandchildren.”

The couple have lived in Wilkins Court for 22 years but have been requesting a move from the council since their previous car was burnt out.

Mr Loader said: “We have cameras here but they don’t record anything, so they’re not much help. I don’t know why someone would do this.”

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