Rathcoole arson attack was ‘attempted murder’

Natalie Alexander and Courtney Campbell, sisters of young mother Amie Alexander, survey the damage to her arson-hit Rathcoole home. INNT 15-443-RM
Natalie Alexander and Courtney Campbell, sisters of young mother Amie Alexander, survey the damage to her arson-hit Rathcoole home. INNT 15-443-RM

An ARSON attack on a Rathcoole home, in which a young mother was forced to drop her 14-month-old daughter out of a bathroom window to safety, has been branded “attempted murder”.

Amie Alexander (22), her daughter, three-year-old son, and her partner Colin Warnock were fortunate to manage to escape from their Clonbeg Drive home just moments before it was consumed by flames.

It is believed that petrol was poured through the letterbox and ignited just after 4am on Friday (April 6).

The children’s uncle, Thomas (27), who was lying asleep on the sofa was startled by the noise of the letterbox rattling. He was able to make his escape through the rear of the property with the family trapped upstairs as the fire swept through the building.

Amie and her children - three-year-old Bradley and 14-month-old Hollie, along with their father Colin - took to the bathroom for refuge.

Amie was forced to drop Hollie from the window into the waiting arms of her brother Thomas while neighbours ran to get a ladder.

The neighbours helped the family to safety with father Colin being rescued just seconds before flames burst through the bathroom door.

The family’s pet dog was unable to escape the blaze and the house was left completely gutted.

On Friday all the family were treated at Antrim Area Hospital for minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Colin (36) was kept overnight for observation.

The children’s grandmother, Wendy Alexander spoke to the Times from the hospital.

She said: “We are all absolutely devastated, this was horrible.

“This could have been much worse, I can’t understand how anybody could be so malicious.

“Whoever did this was a sick person - they are animals.”

She added: “But we can’t thank the neighbours enough, they deserve all the praise - they were all heroes.

“We thank them for their quick actions and will never forget what they did for us.”

Rathcoole resident and local councillor, Billy DeCourcy added: “This was a blatant attempted murder and I condemn it outright.”

Full story and more pictures in this week’s Times...