09:00AM, Thursday 22 June 2017
Malik Ahmed and staff inside the reopened restaurant.
A father-of-five whose business was attacked by arsonists has said he still hopes justice will be served, despite investigations hitting a dead end.
Maliks Tandoori restaurant, in Cookham High Street, reopened on Monday for the first time since the blaze last year.
But despite the best efforts of police and the lure of a £10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction, those responsible remain at large.
“I want to ask them why they would do this,” said owner Malik Ahmed, who wants to ‘see justice done’ for his six employees caught up in the fire.
“What is the reason you would set fire to my business?
“It could be because they’re jealous or because they don’t like me, but what about my staff, what have they done?”
He added: “If they’re not punished in this world, they will be punished in the other world.”
Staff were forced to leap from first and second floor windows to escape flames after petrol was poured through a letterbox on December 6.
One man in his 20s had to be taken to Wexham Park Hospital after suffering a ‘serious’ leg injury following what police called ‘arson with intent to endanger life’.
A final bill is yet to be tallied, but Mr Ahmed estimates he has spent ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ restoring the Grade II-listed building to its former glory.
Mr Ahmed, who started working in the restaurant business in 1980, opened the Cookham eatery in 1999 and owns three others bearing the same name.
But he claimed the attack on the village curry house affected him more than attacks on the other businesses could as it was his first solo venture.
The as yet unknown motive weighed heavily, prompting protective measures from police at his Cookham home.
“[The police] came and put smoke alarms and panic alarms in my house,” he said.
“I have five children, four daughters and a son, and for my family it was a big shock – we couldn’t sleep for weeks.
“Our world was turned upside down.”
However, he said he had also been helped by the ‘huge amount of support’ which poured in from friends and loyal customers in the aftermath of the attack.
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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