Sawtry arsonist sentenced to five years in prison

A DRUNK and jealous arsonist who torched a Sawtry home to scare a man who had allegedly formed a relationship with his girlfriend has been jailed for five years.

A DRUNK and jealous 23-year-old torched a house to scare a man who had allegedly started a relationship with his girlfriend.

Jason Wild of Bedford Way, Sawtry, was jailed for five years after he pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life.

Wild started the fire at a property in Stanch Hill Road, Sawtry, in February.

The terrifying late-night attack left the house completely gutted and one of the residents, Stephen Plumb, with burns to his arms and feet.

At the time, firefighters said it was lucky Mr Plumb was awake as the two-storey property did not have a smoke alarm and the blaze spread rapidly.

At Huntingdon Crown Court on Friday Jonathan Seely, prosecuting, said Mr Plumb heard the sound of glass breaking at 12.40am and then spotted flames directly outside the front door.

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He pulled the door open and the flames flared up.

Mr Seely said Mr Plumb “shielded his face with his arms” and jumped through the flames. He added that Wild had told police he had drunk 15 pints and had only wanted to scare the occupants of the house.

Wild also claimed he thought the property had been empty at the time of the attack.

But Judge Nicholas Coleman described Wild’s claims as “nonsense” as a light had been on in the house when Wild struck.

The court heard how Wild had started the fire 2ft from the front door using petrol in a can, a cloth and a lighter before running home.

The door was burnt through and the house was extensively damaged. Mr Seely said the blaze had left Stephen Austin, who also lived at the house, and Mr Plumb devastated, with both of them losing most of their belongings.

Mark Stevens, defending, said Wild was remorseful and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

During police interview Wild said he had drunk too much and was angry with his girlfriend, who he believed had cheated on him with Mr Austin, who was not at home at the time of the fire.

Mr Stevens added: “He would not have dreamt of doing it had he not been drunk. He knows he has only himself to blame. He had a difficult on-off relationship with a young lady and should have stayed away. This was a totally out of character crime.”

Judge Coleman said Wild’s actions were “simply to get at Mr Austin” and he needed to address his drink and jealously problems.

He added: “This was an outcome which could have been catastrophic.

“Mr Plumb was burned, he could have been trapped and he could have died. What you did that night must have been utterly terrifying for him.”