WELL-KNOWN Ballymoney character - Billy ‘Elvis’ Murphy - says he will no longer move into a new home in Carnany which was targeted by arsonists.
Billy was speaking after the house he planned to move into was badly damaged in an arson attack on Wednesday March 7.
‘Billy Elvis’, as his name suggests, is popular in Ballymoney for his ‘Elvis’ performances and was due to move into a new house in Carnany on March 19.
In the early hours of Wednesday the vacant property was badly damaged by fire and police confirmed it was deliberate.
A neighbour had to be treated by the Fire Service for the effects of breathing in smoke. A motive for the attack was being probed by police.
It is understood the neighbour tried to tackle the blaze with a fire extinguisher before the Fire Service arrived.
Billy currently lives in the Margaret Avenue area of Ballymoney and was due to move into Carnany so he could live near his 49-year-old brother Derek.
Billy travelled on his bicycle to view the house on Wednesday morning unaware the property was fire-damaged.
He said: “I was shocked to see what had happened. I don’t know what happened but if it was deliberate I can’t see why anybody would have anything against me because everybody in Ballymoney knows me and I don’t harm anybody.”
Detectives in Coleraine are appealing for information following the fire.
The fire is being treated as suspicious and was reported to police at around 12.30am on Wednesday March 7 and enquiries are ongoing to establish exactly how it was started.
It is understood most of the damage was limited to the living room where a sofa was badly damaged.
A PSNI spokesperson said: “No-one was in the ground floor flat at the time but a neighbour was treated at the scene by Fire Service personnel for the effects of smoke inhalation.”
Police would ask anyone who may have noticed anything suspicious in the area or who has any information to contact them at CID in Coleraine on 08456008000. Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800555111.
A Housing Executive spokesperson said: “The property in Carnany was so badly damaged in the fire it will take a long period to fix it. We have spoken to Mr Murphy and he is no longer interested in the house and he is now down for the Glebe area. We hope to get him a property there shortly, perhaps within the next few weeks.”