Father says family ‘almost murdered’ in arson attack after he condemned yobs

Tom Wilkinson, PA
·3-min read

A former Royal Marine who spoke out about anti-social behaviour has had his home set on fire.

Teacher Sean Ivey said he, his wife and their two children aged seven and five were “almost murdered” when their bungalow in Wingate, County Durham, was set alight while they slept.

Durham Police on Thursday said a 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson.

The force confirmed a second blaze at the property was discovered at 1am on Friday and inquiries are ongoing.

It is understood investigations are under way on whether this was a separate incident or if the fire had flared up again.

Mr Ivey shared a video of his car and caravan ablaze and a fire crew attending.

The fire spread to his home, which was not insured because he had forgotten to renew the policy.

Mr Ivey, who grew up in Wingate and returned after serving in the Marines, said his home had been targeted because he had spoken out after a series of yobbish incidents in the former pit village.

In a Facebook post after the initial fire, he said: “We’re good standing members of the community and now, because I spoke out against anti social behaviour my 5 year old boy, 7 year old girl, wife and myself were almost murdered whilst asleep.

HOUSE, CAR AND CARAVAN SET ON FIRE WHILST MY FAMILY WERE ASLEEP IN BED! We're good standing members of the community…

Posted by Sean Ivey on Thursday, March 18, 2021

“I want people to know that not enough is being done to curb anti social behaviour.

“People are not being held accountable or responsible.

“Help me to help you and everyone else who are becoming victims of the poison that lives in our local communities.”

On Wednesday, hours before the arson attack, Mr Ivey posted on social media that his parents had been robbed in their own home, saying: “What the hell is going on!”

He also said he had been in a run-in at the weekend with a young biker “riding like a lunatic”, and saw another in the main street of the former mining village pulling wheelies and mounting the paths.

He called out groups of “young lads” seen riding quad bikes, and gangs gathering outside a local takeaway.

He wrote: “Something really has to change!!!

“I don’t know how and I do not know what we can do but I think it’s time that the people, the good people of our communities, got together and come up with some ideas to hopefully get rid of these thugs and clean up our streets.”

An online appeal to help Mr Ivey, who suffered a head injury while he was serving, had raised almost £34,000 by Friday afternoon.

Keith Miller, who set up the Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/seanivey, wrote: “I served with Sean at 45 Commando and he is a man of exceptional character with integrity and humility.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Durham Police on 101.