More than six months have passed since a luxury cruiser permanently berthed in Tuncurry was destroyed by a suspicious fire with no suspects on the radar.
Frustrated and angry that two people, who almost took the lives of four innocent people, are as yet to be apprehended, boat owner Courtenay Edwards is offering a substantial reward.
While authorities have exhausted almost all lines of inquiry I am not giving up, Mr Edwards said.
“I am offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information which could lead to the arrest and conviction of anyone who set fire to my boat,” he said.
“We were just 30 seconds from being incinerated and my retirement lifestyle has been destroyed.”
Seventy-year-old Mr Edwards, wife Margaret, grandson Angus and a school-mate had just settled in for the evening aboard the four-bedroom 75 foot motor cruiser when a noise alerted them to intruders
Mr Edwards said the prowlers had attempted to break into the cabin, but the front door was dead-bolted.
Described by his grandfather as a fit and athletic teenager, 14-year-old Angus chased what he later determined were two males, but was unable to catch them.
“They had too big a lead.”
Mr Edwards believe the culprits should be charged with attempted murder with evidence an accelerant had been spread on the vessel.
He said cabin lights were on, making it evident the family was aboard.
Mr Edwards said he didn’t attempt to put the fire out because his only concern was for the safety of his family.
Within seconds of the family reaching safety, the vessels three gas bottles began to explode, blowing the boat apart.
Following the untimely death of their son, the Edwards family has been travelling weekly to Tuncurry from their Hunter Valley rural property to visit their grandson.
The $1.3M boat was bought three years ago, giving the family a permanent residence and enabling Mr Edwards to satisfy his passion for boating.
He said Margaret had been so traumatised by February’s incident, she would never live on a boat again.
But February’s incident wasn’t a first for the family.
On two previous occasions people have broken into the vessel, stealing a number of items including car keys.
His vehicle was later found burnt out on The Lakes Way.
Mr Edwards said he also was offering the reward believing there was a slight chance someone knows something or about someone.
“I would like to thank everyone for helping our family on that February night and for the words and well wishes from many.”
He explained he was advised not to talk publicly while the incident was being investigated.
“I can assure that I would not put my family at risk for the sake of an insurance claim.”
Contact 0400 041 311 if you can help Mr Edwards.
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