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'Road rage' row could have led to firebombing in Stepney

PUBLISHED: 11:11 06 August 2010 | UPDATED: 16:17 05 October 2010

Two families had a lucky escape after one house was petrol bombed and a shot fired through next door's front window, during an attack in Stepney. Six people – including three young children were asleep - when firebomb was thrown through their living room window

TWO families had a lucky escape after one house was petrol bombed and a shot fired through next door's front window, during an attack in Stepney.

Six people - including three young children were asleep - when firebomb was thrown through their living room window in Antill Terrace, at around 11.50pm on Wednesday.

Detectives believe a 'road rage' incident may have led to the attack.

Earlier on Wednesday, a man leaving the Antill Terrace address was knocked off his bike by a man driving a black VW Golf.

The pair fought and the driver suffered a cut head before leaving the scene.

He is described as black and in his late 20s or early 30s.

Two and a half hours later a gunshot was heard, shortly before the petrol bomb was thrown.

Sleeping upstairs were a couple and three boys aged one month, three and five.

The three year old suffers from cerebral palsy.

A relative, aged 24, was sleeping downstairs in the lounge where the bottle was thrown.

Police called to investigate found a bullet hole in next door's front window, and a round on the floor.

Det Insp Stewart Garrick, from Tower Hamlets CID, said: "These cowardly attacks have needlessly threatened the lives of the occupants of two addresses.

"Clearly a strong line of inquiry is that the shooting and arson could be linked to the earlier altercation involving a car driver, especially as we now know he had allegedly threatened to shoot the cyclist.

"It is essential that anyone with information does make it known, as this could so easily have resulted in a murder inquiry."

Anyone who can assist can contact detectives at Limehouse CID on 020 7275 4772.

You can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police are appealing for witnesses and information after a house was petrol bombed and a shot was fired in Stepney.

At around 11.50pm on Wednesday, a 40 year old man left an address in Antill Terrace E1 where he had attended a barbecue to celebrate someone's birthday.

The visitor was in the process of getting on his bicycle when a black VW Golf was in collision with him and he was knocked to the ground, grazing his leg.

The car stopped, and the cyclist and the driver were involved in an angry exchange of words which led to an altercation, during which the car driver suffered a cut to the head.

A number of people had gathered around at this point.

Police were called to the incident, but the situation had calmed down and no arrests were made. The driver of the Golf left the scene - he is black and thought to be in his late 20s/early 30s.

Subsequently it was reported that he had allegedly threatened to shoot the cyclist.

Approximately 2 and a half hours later - around 02.30hrs on Thursday 5 August - what is believed to be a gunshot was heard in the area.

At approximately 02.50hrs that morning the Fire Brigade was called to the address in Antill Terrace that the cyclist had earlier visited (he does not reside there).

It appears a 'petrol bomb' - comprising a milk bottle filled with flammable liquid - had been thrown through the living room window of the terraced house.

Sleeping upstairs were a couple and 3 boys - aged 1 month, 3 years & 5 years. The 3 year old suffers from cerebral palsy.

A relative - a 24 year old man - was sleeping downstairs in the lounge where the bottle was thrown.

Thankfully none of the occupants were injured, and the LFB attended and extinguished the fire which had not greatly spread.

Police attended and a hole was noted in the next door living room window. A bullet was later found in the lounge of this address, which is completely unconnected to the earlier incident. The occupant of this second address was also, thankfully, unharmed.

It is likely the gunshot heard at 02.30hrs was someone firing through this window.

DI Stewart Garrick of Tower Hamlets CID, who is leading the inquiry with colleagues from Trident, said: "These cowardly attacks have needlessly threatened the lives of the occupants of two addresses.

"Clearly a strong line of inquiry is that the shooting and arson could be linked to the earlier altercation involving a car driver, especially as we now know he had allegedly threatened to shoot the cyclist.

"I appeal to anyone who witnessed the exchange between the cyclist and the driver, or the incidents in the early hours of Thursday morning, to come forward.

"It is essential that anyone with information does make it known, as this could so easily have resulted in a murder inquiry."

Anyone who can assist should contact detectives at Limehouse police station on 020 7275 4772; if you wish to remain anonymous please call Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.

There has been no arrest at present.


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