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Daughter launches appeal after huge firework kills dad in his own home

Gutted: The whole interior was destroyed in the attack PICTURES: SWNS

THE daughter of a man murdered when men burst into his house and set off an ‘industrial’-sized firework has made an emotional appeal for information about the incident.

Fiona Nicholls, 35, told how her father Anthony, 56, was enjoying a Chinese takeaway when thugs forced their way into his house and lit a £130 Colossus Finale firework inside.

Deadly: The fatal £130 firework

The firework triggered 200 explosions and the £150,000 property in Tile Cross, Birmingham, was engulfed in flames shortly after 11.20pm on November 2.

Mr Nicholls, a former Land Rover worker, was rushed to hospital with 60 per cent burns and placed in an induced coma, but passed away five days later.

His partner Marie Jones, 50, who leapt from a first floor window, has been released from hospital after suffering life-changing injuries and fractures to her lower limbs.

Victim: Mr Nicholls did not have any enemies, say relatives

Speaking at West Midlands Police’s Lloyd House headquarters in Birmingham on Monday, Fiona made a heartfelt plea for witnesses to come forward.

‘It’s horrendous what happened to my dad,’ she said. ‘Words can’t describe how me and my family are feeling.

‘My dad made no enemies. He was hard working, he was a funny man.

‘I just want someone to come forward and give any information whatsoever, please.’

Independent charity Crimestoppers are now offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Mr Nicholls’ killers.

Detective Inspector Paul Joyce said: ‘This investigation centres around what I would describe as a cowardly attack on a couple in their own home on November 2.

Burned out: Even the outside of the house is smoke-damaged

‘Around 11.20pm a group of men have burst into a house in the Tile Cross area of Birmingham and they have placed what can only be described as an industrial firework within the hallway and living room of that house.

‘The firework was lit, and it has caused a fairly substantial fire within the property.

‘The two occupants had to flee for their safety.

‘The first had to jump out of an upstairs window and [that] has resulted in her injuring her legs in quite a substantial way.

‘The second occupant has, unfortunatel,y since died as a result of the incident.

‘It’s my belief — strong belief — that the answer to this investigation lie within the local community, and I would urge anyone to come forward, talk to us and tell us what they know.’