A CRIME novelist’s £18,000 Porsche has been destroyed in what has been dubbed a malicious “copycat” arson attack. The sleek Porsche Carrera belonging to action-thriller author Andrew Towning was engulfed in a blazing fireball which also badly damaged his wife’s Mini Cooper.

Petrol was also thrown over their 24-year-old daughter’s Audi TT as it sat in the driveway of their house in Montacute Way, Merley, at 10.15pm on Thursday.

Daughter Harriet, 24, said: “We think it was a copycat attack because lots of Porsches are blown up in my dad’s books.

“If it was a targeted attack then the person has chosen the thing he loves the most. It was his pride and joy and was in pristine condition.”

Andrew said: “I’m gutted, absolutely gutted that someone had the malicious nature to do that.

“I worked very hard to get that car and it is a car I would have kept forever.

“In my third book, the Shroud of Concealment, the lead character had his Porsche blown up in the street.

“There are some very strange people around, so who knows.” A man was seen running from the house carrying a green petrol canister by the youngest daughter, 19-year-old Elouise.

She said: “I heard a really loud bang like an explosion and I looked out of the window and there were 10ft flames blazing up from the cars.

“I saw a man running away from the scene down Queen Anne Drive.”

Two fire crews from Wimborne attended the incident and the fire was brought under control at 11.10pm.

A spokesperson from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said: “The fire was believed to be caused by deliberate ignition and completely destroyed one car, caused 50 per cent damage to another vehicle and 50 per cent damage to the roof of the car port.”

Mum Paula, 50, said: “I’m just so shocked and upset that this has happened. What have we done wrong?”

Andrew has been an author of crime novels since 2006 and his books include The Constantine Legacy, Dead Men Don’t Bite, Shroud of Concealment and most recently the Chimera Code.

The family also owns Rapid Response Fittings based in Poole.

A spokesperson from Dorset Police said: “Detectives are appealing for witnesses to the arson attack. If you were in the area and saw anything suspicious call 101 quoting incident number 9:481.”