Suffolk arson attack: Stephen Wilson jailed for nine years


Fire in Halesworth, SuffolkImage copyright
Mark Eley/Suffolk Fire Service

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The blaze in Halesworth town centre left a family homeless

A jealous boyfriend who set fire to his pregnant partner’s flat out of “pure spite” has been jailed for nine years.

The fire started by Stephen Wilson, 32, caused £1.8m of damage to nearby buildings in Halesworth, Suffolk, and left his girlfriend homeless.

Wilson, of Poppy Street, Loddon in Norfolk, was found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court of arson and assault on girlfriend Amy Clark, 26.

Judge John Devaux said Wilson was a “dangerous offender”.

He said Wilson had been “motivated by pure spite, pure malice, aimed at Amy Clark”.

Image copyright
Suffolk Constabulary

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Stephen Wilson was described by a judge as “a dangerous offender”

The court had previously heard that the pair had been trying to rekindle their “turbulent” relationship, despite a restraining order against Wilson.

He had been drinking on the day of the fire and the couple began to argue. When Ms Clark went to leave the flat in Chediston Street, Wilson threatened to “light it up”.

Image copyright
Mark Eley, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

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Fire crews were called out at about 18:15 BST on 11 June

Ms Clark, who now has a four-month-old son by Wilson, said in a statement read to the court that he had been controlling, put pressure on her financially and stopped her seeing her family.

She and her eight-year-old daughter had suffered from anxiety since the fire, in which they “lost everything”, the court heard.

“Once Stephen is released I won’t feel safe. I believe he is dangerous,” she added.

Image copyright
Kevin Greagsby

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The fire was started in a flat above a newsagent’s on Chediston Street in Halesworth

Ronan McCann, mitigating, said Wilson’s actions were the result of an “impulsive, reckless and entirely regrettable decision” after Ms Clark had invited him to revive their relationship.

When asked what he would say to Ms Clark, his solicitor said Wilson’s message was: “Sorry isn’t good enough”.

Wilson had also been found guilty of taking a car without consent, for which he was sentenced to six months to run concurrently.

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