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Family flee home as Isle of Dogs rioters burst in with axe threatening to kill

PUBLISHED: 21:39 09 August 2011 | UPDATED: 09:35 10 August 2011

Wayne Heatley (right) shows the mayor his wrecked Saab

Wayne Heatley (right) shows the mayor his wrecked Saab

A family was under siege from a mob of 50 they believe were out to kill them during last night's rioting across London.

A neighbour of the Heatley family had to shelter them after they fled for their lives over two 7ft back garden fences in London’s East End.

The mob broke into the house at the end of a quiet close in Millwall, on the Isle of Dogs, trashed it and looted what they could carry out—then set light to four cars parked in the cul-de-sac.

Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman got a call at 11.30pm about Wayne Heatley’s family while out touring Whitechapel and Bethnal Green assessing the impact of the rioting.

He rushed with his Administration team to the Isle of Dogs and immediately calmed angry neighbours—then arranged emergency bed and breakfast and later a permanent home for the family away from the Isle of Dogs.

“The mob attacked a white family who would have been killed if their Asian neighbour hadn’t taken them in and hidden them,” Mayor Rahman told the East London Advertiser tonight.

“This was totally unacceptable violence that has scarred this community—it was sheer thuggery.”

Wayne Heatley, 48, who runs a breakdown recovery business in Poplar, was out collecting the youngest of his four sons when his older son David phoned to say a mob was smashing the house and the family was in hiding.

David, 24, was battling to hold the street door while the marauding gang tried smashing it down with an axe as his mum Donna, 45, and girlfriend Lauren, 23, fled through the back garden.

“He held the door as long as he could while the others got out,” said his dad.

“Then he fled for his life out the back as the mob broke in.

“My family would have been killed if my neighbour hadn’t taken them in.”

The mob also set light to his Saab parked outside along with three other cars, including one belonging to a minicab driver who has now lost his income.

David—recovering from his trauma—said: “I held onto the door for dear life by instinct while the family got away.

“The mob was coming to kill us—they shouted they were coming for us.”

The melee with the burning cars brought out dozens of angry neighbours which caused the mob to retreat.

The neighbour who sheltered the family, Abdul Ahad, 52, said later: “The family were terrified—we had to bolt the doors and turn the lights out to protect them.”

Mr Ahad dialled 999, then called Millwall councillor Maium Miah and mayor Rahman who arrived at the scene just before midnight.

Wayne Heatley believes his family are innocent victims of ‘post code’ street gang warfare because the thugs found out they had moved to Millwall in E14 six years ago from Bow, which is E3. Detectives at Limehouse are investigating the incident.

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