By Alexander Lawrie
A FAMILY whose home was attacked in a horrific petrol bomb assault say they are still haunted by the attack.
Brian and Tracy Soave, from Penicuik, Midlothian, were sleeping when their home was fire-bombed by ex-neighbour Andrew Brown in August last year.
Brown, 23, was sentenced to eight years at Edinburgh’s High Court on Monday for the heinous attack.
The ex-garage worker denied attempting to murder the family, but he was convicted after the jury returned a majority verdict.
The couple, along with their two sons, narrowly avoided serious injury during the incident, and admit they still regularly relive the nightmare and suffer flashbacks about the night the deadly Molotov cocktail was thrown their window.
Brown was captured on a CCTV camera that the Soaves had attached to their home after suffering a catalogue of incidents over a six-year period.
The family had been subjected to abusive behaviour from Brown and had their cars vandalised over the six years.
They also had to contend with a barrage of unsolicited mail that included unordered books, DVD’s and pornographic material.
Mrs Soave, 41, said: “My husband first heard a loud bang that morning and rushed down to see what was going on.
“The next thing I heard was him shouting for all of us to get out of the house because the living room was on fire. At first we tried to get out the bedroom window onto the garage roof, but the blind was stuck and we couldn’t budge it. Eventually we just ran for our lives out the front door.
“We had six years of hell living next to him. We constantly had our vehicles slashed, daubed with paint and found rude notes on our windscreen.
I can’t even remember what started it all off because when we first moved in to the house they were really friendly towards us.
“Although his face is covered in the footage, I’ve got no doubt in my mind it was him. When you live next door to someone for that length of time, you can just tell.
“All we were trying to do was live our lives in peace and it has been turned upside down, all for nothing.”
Judge Roger Craik QC told the court the CCTV footage was “one of the most dramatic sequences” he had witnessed in court.
The attacker, who was clad in a white hooded boiler suit, was captured on film outside the Soave family home in August last year launching a lit petrol bomb towards the house.
Brown and his family had lived next door to the Soaves before moving to a nearby street just a couple of months before the attack.
Mr Soave said he was “disgusted at the sentence” admitting the family is still coming to terms with the attack.
Mrs Soave, 41, added: “I don’t really know how to feel about the sentence, we thought he might get longer. But, I now feel we will always have to look out over our shoulders.
“I have to add however, the police dealt with the matter impeccably and the detectives involved were outstanding.”