08:00AM, Thursday 12 January 2017
A £10,000 reward for information leading to a conviction has been offered by the founder of popular restaurant Maliks following an arson attack last month.
Thames Valley Police is continuing to appeal for information about the fire at the award-winning restaurant in Cookham High Street, which it is treating as ‘arson with intent to endanger life’.
It believes the community ‘may hold the key’ to finding those responsible.
Members of staff inside had to jump from first and second floor windows to escape smoke from the fire, which happened at about 1.45am on Tuesday, December 6.
One man in his 20s was taken to Wexham Park Hospital after he suffered what police said was a ‘serious’ leg injury, but has since been discharged.
Restaurant founder Malik Ahmed, 54, who was not in the building when the fire started but headed straight to the scene after hearing of the blaze, has put up the reward for information.
“Seven of my staff could have been killed,” he said.
“I was kind of scared. I have never experienced something like this before. It was really shocking.”
Police now believe more than one offender was present when the fire was started.
Mr Ahmed hopes the restaurant will reopen at the end of February or beginning of March, although an exact date has not been set yet.
“I tell you, we will be better and stronger,” he said.
Preparations for the restoration of the Grade II-listed building are well underway.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Rachel Kluger, of Maidenhead Force CID, said: “We are continuing to investigate this serious incident which could have resulted in far worse injuries to those in the property at the time.
She described it as a ‘highly distressing incident’ for the staff, and added: “I would still encourage anyone with information about what happened to contact police.
“We still believe this was a fire targeted at this business and we now believe more than one offender was present at the scene and started the fire.
“The local community may hold the key to helping us to establish who was responsible.”
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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