Pensioner burned trying tosave car after arson attack

Susan Bannister was victim of an arson attack on her car in Plynlimmon Road, Hastings. 20/11/12
Susan Bannister was victim of an arson attack on her car in Plynlimmon Road, Hastings. 20/11/12

A PENSIONER suffered burns to her legs after vandals set fire to a car outside her home in the latest in a series of arson attacks.

Susan Bannister, 65, was at her home in Plynlimmon Road, when she saw a 4x4 vehicle parked in the street go up in flames.

It was the fourth vehicle arson attack in Hastings and St Leonards in the last two months.

Mrs Bannister rushed out to try and move her Nissan Micra which was parked directly next to the burning wreckage.

As she sat in the driver’s seat to start up the car at 10.30pm on November 7, an audio speaker in the burning vehicle exploded.

Shards of hot plastic flew into her lap burning the top of her legs.

Paramedics treated Mrs Bannister at the scene while firefighters tackled the blazing vehicle.

Mrs Bannister, a retired nurse, now has to have her burns dressed every week.

She has been told her car may have been severely damaged by the heat and it waiting to hear from her insurance company.

There has been a number of arson attacks on vehicles in Hastings and St Leonards this year.

In February arsonists torched a new £20,000 Ford Focus parked at the Comet pub in Harley Shute Road at 5am.

On July 15, arsonists destroyed a Kia people carrier car in Menzies Road, St Leonards at 9.25pm.

On September 30 a car was set on fire in Clarence Road, St Leonards just before 2.30am.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a van and a car were torched in the space of 40 minutes just half a mile from each other in the Halton area.

Mrs Bannister, who requires dialysis three times week, said: “It was really frightening. I was watching the news and having a cup of tea when I saw the car outside on fire.

“I went out to try and move mine because I thought it could go up in flames too as it was right next to it.

“As I sat in the seat one of its speakers exploded and the plastic flew onto my lap. It was quite painful.

“I have to get it treated with new dressings every week.

“I didn’t want to lose my car. I don’t know who owns the 4x4 but it’s been here for a few months.

“I don’t know why anyone would want to do something like this - perhaps it was a grudge.

“My car might be ruined now because the electrics have all been affected. I hope the police catch who ever was responsible before they do it again.”

Michelle Tugwell, spokesperson for Sussex Police, said: “We are not linking this with the other arson incidents. We carried out house to house enquiries and are investigating.”