'I fled Croydon after the riots - and I'm not coming back'
A PROFESSIONAL musician who lost her home in last summer's riots says she doesn't want to return to "scary" Croydon.
Carla Rees's life was turned upside-down on August 8 when her flat above Greyhound Motors was torched.
Her two beloved cats perished in the fire, which also destroyed her handmade alto flutes and 15 years worth of musical scores.
Traumatised by the events, flautist Carla, 35, moved to a rented property in the village of Clewer, in Windsor, to escape the memory.
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She returned to her flat after the first night of rioting but left Croydon because she didn't feel safe.
She said: "I have had to start again. I am taking it bit by bit and rebuilding where I can by buying essentials. It has been pretty hard."
Carla said she has still not received a penny in insurance and has had to rely on handouts from family and an appeal fund set up by fellow musicians.
Carla, who is artistic director of chamber ensemble Rarescale and a music teacher, has been told her Croydon flat will be rebuilt by 2014.
She said: "I would be completely destroyed without my family and donations given by complete strangers.
"I would like to be able to stay here. I love it.
"It is very calm and completely different to where I was."
She added that she was not surprised rioting had broken out in Croydon, as it had felt "more and more scary".
A 17-year-old boy was arrested in August in connection with the fire, but later released with no further action to be taken.
Police are still investigating the fire and anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.