Pair saved as thugs block door with burning bin

The fire occured at Royston Mains Crescent. Picture: Tony Marsh
The fire occured at Royston Mains Crescent. Picture: Tony Marsh
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A terrified mother has spoken of the moment her three-year-old daughter was plucked to safety after fireraisers targeted their home as they slept.

Leanne Cottier, 35, said she and her toddler, Lexi White, would not be alive today were it not for two bin men who spotted smoke billowing out of the property.

The blaze occurred at 7.30am on Sunday after a wheelie bin was pushed up against the front door of the house at Royston Mains Crescent and set on fire.

As the flames took hold, Ms Cottier’s eight-year-old son, John White, watched helplessly from a friend’s house across the road

Stay-at-home mum Ms Cottier said she has been the victim of a hate campaign and has received death threats in recent weeks – and insisted her family will not return to their home until the culprit is caught.

She said: “The people who have done this are the scum of the earth.

“I woke up to hear my door being kicked in. Two bin men spotted what was happening and were banging the door with a big piece of wood.

“The house was full of smoke, I scooped up Lexi and carried her to the bedroom window and handed her to the men, one of them got on the other’s shoulders to catch her.

“I was worried that I might not make it out of the house, but I was more worried about her.

“When the fire crew arrived and I got out, I saw the damage and nearly fainted.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet. What sort of a person would do this?”

The pair were checked over by an ambulance crew as 24 firefighters to tackled the blaze.

Ms Cottier explained in the weeks leading up to the incident she had been receiving death threats in letters claiming she owed £500, which she had reported to the police.

She said: “The first one said they were going to get me, another said ‘tick tock if you don’t pay up – bang bang’.

“Another said I’d get £50 a day added on in interest.

“I don’t owe money to anyone and I don’t know who is sending me these letters or why. At first I thought it might have been kids playing some kind of joke but now I don’t think so.”

The family have moved to a friend’s home as police investigate what happened.

Ms Cottier said: “If it wasn’t for those bin men going past and a little girl, Terri, who saw the flames and woke her mum up, me and my girl would be dead by now.

“Lexi doesn’t seem to be affected by what happened but my son is traumatised after what he saw.

“I can’t go back to that flat until whoever has done this has been caught.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “A bin had been placed against the front door of the property and set on fire.

“We used two breathing apparatus and one hose reel to extinguish the fire.

“A three-year-old female was lowered from the window into the care of bin men who were nearby prior to the arrival of the fire service and a 35-year-old female was led to safety by firefighters.

“They were treated at the scene by the ambulance crew but they didn’t go to hospital.”

dawn.morrison@edinburghnews.com