Homeless man's tent set on fire in Maidenhead after he left to get food

Will Taylor

Reporter:

Will Taylor

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A homeless man has been left feeling scared and vulnerable after his tent and possessions burned down on Monday.

Sue Brett, founder of homeless charity the Brett Foundation, said she believed Kristian Rusimov’s tent had been set on fire deliberately.

Mr Rusimov, who was pitched up on land in Blackamoor Lane and spent Christmas living in his tent there, had left to get food but returned to find it had been destroyed.

“He said that it looked as if someone had used a napalm bomb on it,” said Sue.

“There was just nothing left. It had been completely obliterated.”

At 8.19pm on Monday, the Brett Foundation posted an urgent appeal on social media asking for a tent following the incident.

By 10.20pm a member of the public had managed to provide one, and the foundation had supplied Mr Rusimov, who is in his early thirties, with bedding and food.

“He called us. We knew there was a problem straight away because of his voice,” said Sue.

“He just said ‘I have lost everything. I have got nothing’. He’s lost literally everything, other than what he was wearing and what he had on him at the time.”

The incident was reported to the police but Mr Rusimov did not want to press charges.

“He is scared, he is vulnerable. I understand why he doesn’t want to take this further,” said Sue, who said she did not know who might have torched the tent.

She added: “Fear, I think, plays a big part in it.

“People think everybody who is homeless is alcoholic or a drug addict and know no better.

“They can’t see them as somebody’s son or brother or anything other than being an object.

“Some people get drunk and they think it is a great laugh.”

Leader of the council Simon Dudley said he thought Mr Rusimov had been given temporary accommodation.

Speaking yesterday (Wednesday), Cllr Dudley added: “I can certainly look into it. I will get an email off to people now.

“I don’t know why he is back in the Royal Borough sleeping in a tent.”

Criticising whoever may have torched the tent, Cllr Dudley said: “They should have a good look in the mirror.”

Anybody with information can contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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