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Disabled Islington man says arsonists torched my vital mobility scooter

PUBLISHED: 12:36 29 September 2011

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»A disabled charity volunteer who starred on Channel Four’s Secret Millionaire has had the mobility scooter he describes as a “lifeline” torched in a heartless arson attack.

Derek Marjoram, 59, who suffers from brain damage that means he cannot keep balance, was asleep when the arsonists struck at around 1.30am on Sunday.

The vehicle, which he relies on for everything from food shopping to visiting friends, was destroyed in the blaze. It had been sitting outside his front door in Romford House, off Wall Street, Islington – and the fire spread to his flat, blowing in the window, scorching the kitchen and blackening his living room and bedroom.

Mr Marjoram, who runs the Cally Over 50s Lunch Club in York Way Court, King’s Cross, said: “It was terrifying. I was woken by my cat and saw the flames from the kitchen, they were getting higher and higher.

“I can’t really walk and I was thinking I can’t get out – I was stumbling about. Then the window came in as I tried to escape.”

Mr Marjoram managed to get out and bang on a neighbour’s door, who leapt into action to douse the fire with buckets of water. He added: “I am totally reliant on the vehicle. It’s my lifeline – I can’t do anything without it.

“I don’t know who did it or why – there is no one I have any arguments with. But the police say I was targeted. I could have burned to death and I’m worried they might come back.”

The scooter was bought by his sister for £3,000 and Mr Marjoram, who runs errands for his elderly neighbours, has been lent a courtesy car by his insurance company.

Angella-Dee Sherriffe, 50, who also lives in Romford House, said: “The fire brigade said it’s definitely arson and that somebody poured fuel on the scooter. It’s very small minded.

“They could have burned the whole block down. Everyone in this block is elderly or disabled or both.”

Mr Marjoram, a former insurance broker who blames his condition on a “mis-spent youth”, appeared on the hit TV show Secret Millionaire in May. He made friends with recruitment guru Lyn Cecil, owner of Secretaries Plus in Bond Street, who pretended to be a volunteer – before revealing her identity and handing over a £5,000 cheque.

Ms Cecil, who has kept in touch with Mr Marjoram, said: “I was horrified to hear about it.”

The incident is being treated as suspicious by police, but no arrests have been made.


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