Thaxted woman describes moment she found her burnt out car

Jean Hockley with her Ford KA which was deliberately set alight in the early hours of Tuesday (March

Jean Hockley with her Ford KA which was deliberately set alight in the early hours of Tuesday (March 22) - Credit: Archant

A Thaxted woman has revealed how she awoke to find her car torched in her front garden in one of two vehicle blazes started deliberately in the Essex village in the early hours of Tuesday morning (March 22).

Jean Hockley, 59, of Bardfield Road, said neither she nor her family woke up during the incident, which happened just before 3am, and were amazed when they looked out of the window in the morning.

Mrs Hockley’s eight-year-old red Ford KA was completely gutted in the fire and another car – also a Ford KA – was set alight less than half a mile away in Park Street in a separate incident minutes later.

Essex police say they believe the fires were deliberate and that enquiries into the two incidents are ongoing along with another deliberate car fire on Saturday in Thaxted.

Mrs Hockley, who lives with her partner Eric Cook, 63, and two children Charlotte and Joseph, said: “I was shocked when I looked out of the window. I can’t quite believe that any of us didn’t wake up as apparently the firemen were banging on our door.

“Our neighbour across the road called the fire brigade because he said he heard the crackling sound of a fire. But it was only when my daughter left for work at about 6.45am that we found out about it.

“People always said that I could sleep through a party, but now I know I can sleep through a fire.”

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Mrs Hockley said there was some minor damage to her daughter’s car, which was parked next to the Ford KA, but the catering operator says she feels lucky that no-one was hurt and no other cars were seriously damaged.

“It’s quite scary when you think about it I suppose. It’s just not the sort of thing you expect to happen in Thaxted – we don’t live in the Bronx.

“I remember looking out of the window and thinking ‘why is the car grey?’. It took me ten seconds to realise what had happened.

“Police said that they think the two incidents are linked and people on Facebook were saying it was a petrol bomb but I don’t know. It’s just lucky the firemen acted as quickly as they did before it got any worse. They were here within seven minutes so we’re very grateful.

“The car had brand new tyres and was due to go in for it’s MOT today. I had to phone the garage to say it wouldn’t make it.”

The other purple Ford KA in the Park Road incident is believed to have been an abandoned vehicle which had been in the street for three weeks.

A third car in Thaxted was also set alight deliberately on Saturday (March 19). Fire crews were called to the B184 at 9.22pm following a crash.

The car fire was out by 10.26pm.

An investigation showed the fire was started deliberately.

A spokesman for Essex Police said officers were investigating all three arson attacks together and enquiries are ongoing.

INFORMATION: Call police on 101 with any information.