A PENSIONER was in his living room when a petrol bomb was hurled through the window, detectives have revealed.

Officers investigating the attack in Lucas Avenue on Friday say the couple, aged 78 and 81, had both been downstairs in the minutes leading up to the blaze.

The woman then went upstairs to have a bath, but the man was in the living room when the bomb was thrown through the window at about 9pm, said Inspector Rick Ball of York Police. Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Insp Ball said: “It could have killed this couple. There was no reason at all why this innocent elderly couple had been targeted.”

Insp Ball said the local community were “extremely angered” by the attack but promised that officers would “do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice”.

He said police patrols had been stepped up for the foreseeable future. The couple, who have lived in the street for 40 years, are now staying with a son elsewhere in the city. Police are studying CCTV footage and working with local petrol stations to find the source of the fuel and a green plastic five-litre petrol can recovered nearby.

Detectives also ask residents with surveillance cameras to come forward and are seeking witnesses who saw two men in dark clothing running towards Crichton Avenue. Police are looking into that the possibility that the attack was a case of mistaken identity.