Neighbour from hell's firebomb attack still haunts us

A FAMILY whose home was petrol bombed by a "neighbour from hell" say they are still haunted by the attack.

Brian and Tracy Soave were asleep when neighbour Andrew Brown launched a Molotov cocktail into their Penicuik home in August last year.

Brown, 23, was yesterday sentenced to eight years for the attack at the High Court in Edinburgh.

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But the couple, who along with their two sons narrowly avoided being injured in the attack, said they were constantly reliving the nightmare and regularly suffer flashbacks of the night they were woken by the blast from the homemade bomb.

Mrs Soave, 41, said: "Sometimes this is like a dream and it's as though we are all going to wake up. There are other times when I simply wonder how we have coped."

The Penicuik family was sleeping in their home in Fletcher Grove last August when at 2.45am Brown threw the homemade explosive through their front window.

Mr Soave, 43, a taxi driver, said: "I came downstairs and the entire room was on fire. Even the dog, who had been asleep on the settee, was sitting on a cushion that was alight."

Brown was captured by a CCTV camera that Mr Soave had attached to his house after more than six years of "harassment", including vandalism to cars and abusive behaviour.

Judge Roger Craik QC told Brown at Edinburgh High Court: "No one who saw the footage could fail to be chilled by the deliberate and callous way it was done."

He described the film as "one of the most dramatic sequences" he had seen in many years in court.

The hooded attacker was seen appearing in the quiet street outside the Soave home and launching the lit petrol bomb towards his target.

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Ex-garage assistant Brown, formerly of Cranston Street, Penicuik, denied attempting to murder Mr Soave, his wife and their sons Brian, 20, and Mark, 18, by setting fire to their home.

But a jury convicted him of the offence by a majority verdict.

Brown and his family lived next to the Soaves until months before the attack when they moved to Cranston Street.

Defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder said Brown continued to deny attack.

He said: "There is nothing in his background to suggest he is a serious threat to the community. Perhaps only by the grace of God, nobody was killed in the early hours of that August morning."

Mr Soave said he was "disgusted at the sentence", admitting the attack badly affected the family.

His wife added: "People say it was like a neighbour from hell and it was. We will never forget this.

"But we always say he has not ruined our life, just scarred it. We are a strong family and nobody can take that away from us."

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