Arson attack makes disabled father homeless

PUBLISHED: 05:09 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:55 24 May 2010

Julian at his burnt-out flat.

Julian at his burnt-out flat.

A PARTIALLY-SIGHTED man from Weston has lost everything, including a £2,000 reading machine, after an arson attack at his home in Regent Street. Julian Goldsmith, aged 38, was away for the weekend when arsonists broke into his flat above Mitey Bite take-a

A PARTIALLY-SIGHTED man from Weston has lost everything, including a £2,000 reading machine, after an arson attack at his home in Regent Street.Julian Goldsmith, aged 38, was away for the weekend when arsonists broke into his flat above Mitey Bite take-away and stole hundreds of pounds worth of electrical equipment before setting fire to the couch at around 1.15am on Sunday.The fire gutted his flat causing £50,000 worth of damage. Mr Goldsmith, who has now been re-homed while his flat is repaired, said: "When I came in on Sunday I was in tears. I didn't have any insurance so I've got to start all over again. I've been left with nothing but the clothes I'm wearing. "It's the reading machine that's most important though. It gives me that little bit of independence."Mr Goldsmith has a hereditary condition called retinitus pigmentosa which is becoming progressively worse and taking away his sight.The father of two, who lives on his own, relies on a reading machine which scans letters and blows them up large enough for him to read.It took six months for a number of charities to raise the £2,000 to pay for the equipment and now Mr Goldsmith is worried he will be without one for a long time.Smoke from the blaze also filled the flat above Mr Goldsmith and four people had to be rescued from the property. One was taken to hospital.Everyone in the 16 flats, owned by Cadogan House Investment Properties, and the clubbers in CKs below were evacuated and only allowed back in at 3am when everything had been made safe by fire fighters.The fire alarm in the block of flats would not reset after the fire and all the residents have been re-homed across Weston and Bristol while a new alarm system is installed.It could take months and will cost the company around £70,000 to repair all the damage.Anyone who wishes to help Julian Goldsmith raise the £2,000 he needs for a new reading machine can send donations to Weston Property Services, 87 Meadow Street, Weston, BS23 1AH, marked: The Julian Goldsmith reading machine trust.Police are appealing for anyone who saw anything suspicious or has any information to call Weston CID on 0845 4567000.

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