‘I have nothing because of him’ – Halesworth newsagent’s anguish after £1.8m arson attack
- Credit: Nick Butcher
For David Patrick the last year has been one long nightmare – and there is still no end in sight.
In June, a jilted arsonist destroyed his Halesworth newsagents during a fit of jealous rage - starting a blaze which cost £1.8m.
Stephen Wilson set the fire in the flat above the shop after his girlfriend, who was eight months pregnant, walked out on him.
He was jailed for nine years last week but the aftershocks of his devastating attack are still being felt by Mr Patrick.
Attempts to begin rebuilding D.C Patrick Newsagents, which he started 35 years ago, have encountered constant setbacks.
And the mounting stress has taken a toll on his health.
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"Whatever they gave him wasn't going to do me any good at all", he said, "It could be one year or 99 years it makes no difference.
"Nine years isn't enough as far as I'm concerned. He brought on heart and prostate problems - all brought on due to stress.
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"I'm just sad about the whole situation and I'm worried about how we are going to fix it."
MORE: Honey + Harvey reveal plans to move into prime Ipswich locationThe newsagents was housed in a Grade II listed building, and due to this all plans come under review from Heritage England and similar conservation groups.
All being well the shop could be rebuilt by the end of the year. However, with so much red tape this is unlikely.
"It gets you down", admitted Mr Patrick, "It's all consuming, a constant worry.
"I didn't realise all the loopholes we would have to jump through.
"I'm a newsagent, not a builder or a project manager. It makes me wonder how I spent all my time before this happened.
"My big worry is who is going to come up with the money to fix it if the insurance doesn't cover it?
"Where am I going to get the money from? I'm going to have to sell part of my business."
As the 61-year-old prepares for the long process of rebuilding Wilson's jailing doesn't feel like a victory or even justice.
"He had nothing, he still has nothing and now he's locked up," Mr Patrick added.
"I had something but now I have nothing because of him. I built that business for 35 years but now I have nothing."