‘Idiots who destroyed my flat won’t beat me’

Flautist Carla Rees lost her home, pets and instruments in a blaze.
Flautist Carla Rees lost her home, pets and instruments in a blaze.
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A MUSICIAN from Allington lost everything she owned in a blaze during the riots in London, including her two beloved cats.

Flautist Carla Rees, 34, is one of many victims of the riots in the capital, losing all her belongings when her flat in Croydon was set alight.

Although not as heart-breaking as the loss of cats Pierre and Dmitri, the internationally renowned flautist has also lost her treasured instruments and music collection.

Carla, whose parents Derek and Judy still live in Allington, said: “The most painful loss is my cats - they were special animals and I loved them. They didn’t deserve to die like that.

“Aside from that, my instrument and music collection; my flutes were unique - hand-made prototypes of new designs, and cannot be easily replaced. My work depends on these instruments.”

Carla’s flat in London Road, Croydon, was in a row of terraced houses, which drew a lot of attention from news crews.

The entire building has now been demolished, with nothing salvageable.

Carla has criticised both the government and local authorities for their lack of help in supporting those made victims by the rioters.

She said: “The police and fire people I’ve spoken to have been great, as have the insurance companies so far, but I have had no support or help at all from the council or from anyone else in an official capacity. My messages to local MPs and other politicians have gone unanswered. It was a horrible feeling standing next to the shell of a burnt-out building with no offers of help or advice about what to do next.”

In contrast, people all over the world, including those in the music community, have shown real generosity.

She said: “The offers of help from everybody - complete strangers as well as friends - has been absolutely incredible. Close friends and family have looked after me in the immediate aftermath, and have been amazing throughout.

“I feel lucky to be alive, and lucky to be part of such a wonderful, supportive community. It will take me a long time to rebuild my life and to get back on my feet, but I can do it knowing that there’s a lot of good out there, and that the idiots who destroyed my flat and killed my cats are not going to beat me.”

Carla is now having to stay in hotels and with friends and relatives until temporary accommodation can be found. She has been warned that it will be over a year before her insurance is settled.

She said: “I’m mostly sad about what happened; my whole life has been turned upside down for no reason, and this was a senseless act. I’m angry with the people who did it, and disappointed in the lack of support from the government and local officials.”