Arson attack in Lowestoft after Suffolk police officer’s wife ran over cat

Thousands of pounds' worth of damage was caused to a summerhouse and a shed belonging to a Suffolk police officer when a Molotov cocktail was thrown into his garden after his wife ran over and killed a cat, a court has heard.

Kevin Brooks was woken up in the early hours in July last year by a 'popping' sound and when he looked out of his daughter's bedroom window he saw flames as high as the house in the garden, Ipswich Crown Court was told yesterday.

Mr Brooks, who was living in Waveney Drive, Lowestoft, but has since moved, immediately woke his wife and children and left the house, said Lindsay Cox, prosecuting.

A shed and summerhouse in his garden worth �3,370 were damaged in the blaze and contents worth �8,000 were destroyed.

Meanwhile Martyn Thurston, who lived in a neighbouring property just a few metres away from Mr Brooks's shed, woke at around 4.45am and saw flames which were so close to his house that he could feel the heat from them, said Mr Cox.

The outside of his house suffered smoke damage as a result of the fire and if the blaze had not been put out quickly it could have spread to a loft space and the rest of the house.

He said it was discovered that a Molotov cocktail – a bottle filled with petrol with a rag used as a wick – had started the fire.

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Police officers investigating the fire spoke to a 17-year-old youth, who admitted spraying oil on the floor of the buildings to act as an accelerant.

He claimed that he had been recruited by an older man, who was charged following the fire but had the proceedings against him discontinued, and had been told about Mr Brooks's wife running over a cat.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, admitted arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered on July 31 and making a false witness statement to police.

Sentence was adjourned for two weeks for a more detailed report to be prepared on him by the probation service.

Katherine Moore, for the youth, described him as vulnerable and said that without his admissions to police there would have been insufficient evidence against him to prosecute him.

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