Andrew Leak: Suspected petrol bomb attacker at migrant centre ‘posted anti-Muslim rants on social media’

A man throws an object out of a car window next to the Border Force centre after a firebomb attack in Dover, Britain, October 30, 2022.  REUTERS/Peter Nicholls     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

A man suspected of carrying out a petrol bomb attack at a migrant processing centre in Dover appears to have posted anti-Muslim rants on social media.

Andrew Leak, aged 66 and from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, is believed to have thrown two or three incendiary devices from his car at the Western Jet Foil site on Sunday morning.

Two staff members from the centre sustained minor injuries. Leak killed himself in his vehicle in the car park of a nearby garage later that day.

The investigation into the firebombing attack is being led by counter-terrorism police, and officers believe it was fuelled by “some form of hate-filled grievance”.

A man throws an object out of a car window next to the Border Force centre after a firebomb attack in Dover, Britain, October 30, 2022.  REUTERS/Peter Nicholls     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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A photographer captured the moment one of the homemade petrol bombs was hurled at the centre

A search has been carried out at a property in the High Wycombe area and “a number of items of interest were recovered, including digital media devices”, Thames Valley Police said.

It added there was “currently nothing to suggest the man involved was working alongside anyone else”.

Facebook posts on an account under the name of an Andy Leak from High Wycombe contain anti-Muslim sentiments and complaints about people claiming benefits if they do not speak English.

Leak also shared an anti-royal family post, saying: “Prince Charles says he’s going to house Ukrainian refugees in one of his properties that belong to the British people, what about soldiers and members of the public sleeping in doorways? Disgrace. End the royal family now.”

One of Leak’s neighbours, Allan Abbott, 61, told Sky News: “Andy would bend over backwards for anyone. I was shocked. He was always cheerful, always singing. He had rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.”

Andrew Leak's front door and back door
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Andrew Leak’s front door and back door

Leak’s benefits were ‘cut in half’

Mr Abbott recalled how he and Leak were sat in a garden during the summer and Leak was “so upset” after a migrant boat sank.

Mr Abbott said Leak questioned “why doesn’t the British government help them”, adding his neighbour was “distressed about the whole thing”.

He went on to say that Leak told him a few months that his benefits had been “cut in half” and he had to sell some of his clothes.

Meanwhile, a woman who lives near Leak’s former address said she had occasionally seen him in a wheelchair in the local area and thought he might have mental health problems.

Members of the military and UK Border Force extinguish a fire from a petrol bomb, targeting the Border Force centre in Dover, Britain, October 30, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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A fire at the Border Force centre following the attack

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Asked what her impression of him had been, the carer, who is in her 40s and did not wish to be named, said: “One minute he was in a wheelchair the other he was walking.”

Leak has been described by North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale as having “severe mental health difficulties”.

Following Sunday’s attack, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit was called to ensure there were no further threats.

The centre is where people arriving into Dover via small boats are taken for the first stage of their asylum processing.

A total of 700 people were moved to the Manston centre in Kent, around 20 miles away, for safety reasons.

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