Prince William praises 'moral courage' of arson-hit former marine

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Media caption,

The Duke of Cambridge 'stands by' Wingate arson victim

A former Royal Marine who lost his home in an arson attack has been praised by the Duke of Cambridge for his "moral courage to stand up for what is right".

Sean Ivey from Wingate, County Durham, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, believed he was targeted after calling out local anti-social behaviour.

In a letter, Prince William said it was "reprehensible" what had happened and told the veteran "I stand beside you".

Mr Ivey said he was "honoured" to have received the Prince's message.

The 38-year-old former sergeant, along with his wife Kate, a nurse, and two young children, fled their home in March when the roof caught fire after flames spread from a caravan fire on the drive way.

An appeal, set up by a former 45 Commando colleague, raised more than £300,000 after Mr Ivey, who suffered a head injury while serving in the military, had forgotten to renew his home insurance policy.

The money is being used to rebuild the family home.

Media caption,

Former Royal Marine makes a stand against anti-social behaviour

The prince said he was "incredibly saddened" to hear of the attack and the "monumental impact" it had on Mr Ivey's family.

He wrote: "For a person to be put in such a position, simply due to having the moral courage to stand up for what is right, is reprehensible; I stand beside you."

He also said he had been "heartened" by how the public "rallied around" the family and encouraged by how the country "stood behind" him with donations.

William ended his letter by expressing his hopes that the family will be "settled and secure" in their new home by Christmas.

Image source, Sean Ivey
Image caption,
Mr Ivey captured the blaze on camera as it raged

Mr Ivey, who is also setting up a charity that will provide activity and support for young people in County Durham, was handed the letter on Thursday.

"He recognises the problem and I am honoured that he has said that," he said.

"At the same time, once again, it highlights how much of an issue it is

"If our own Royal Family are recognising this problem in our society, I think other powers that be should also take more swift action to eradicate it."

Image source, Sean Ivey
Image caption,
Mr Ivey served in the Royal Marines for 15 years before suffering a head injury

Five people were arrested over the fire but the case was dropped in May.

A Durham Police spokesman has said the force "carried out a full and thorough investigation" but there was "insufficient evidence to support a charge and no further action will be taken".

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