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Arsonist jailed after trapping friend in home three times before starting blazes

PUBLISHED: 17:04 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:04 31 October 2019

David Turner. PHOTO: Submitted

David Turner. PHOTO: Submitted

Archant

An arsonist who set fire to his Lowestoft flat while a disabled woman was inside has been jailed for four years.

The day before the blaze, David Turner told the woman: "If there was a fire you wouldn't get out and I'd be your hero," Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Michael Crimp, prosecuting, said Turner and the woman, who had a number of disabilities, had been friends and he had acted as her carer.

On April 8, Turner had set light to a wheelie bin outside his flat in Salisbury Road, Lowestoft, and it was put out by neighbours.

Days later, on April 13, Turner rang the police and said someone had set fire to his flat and he couldn't get to the front door.

He said it was "dark and foggy" and that he was finding it hard to breathe. He also said there was a disabled woman in the flat, Mr Crimp told the court.

Four fire appliances attended the blaze and Turner and the woman were taken to hospital where they received treatment for smoke inhalation.

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On May 7, police officers were first on the scene at another fire at the flat and when they opened the front door they were confronted by thick smoke.

One officer was overcome by smoke and another put his fleece over his face and mouth to protect himself from the smoke. When they went inside, they discovered Turner and the disabled woman.

Turner left the flat and the disabled woman was dragged out of the flat by the emergency services, said Mr Crimp.

The 40-year-old, of Salisbury Road, Lowestoft, admitted starting a fire in a wheelie bin outside his flat on April 8, and two offences of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered at his flat on April 13 and May 7.

The court heard that Turner had admitted starting all three fires and said he had "been in a dark place and wanted to die."

He apologised for what he had done and said he had been seeking attention.

The disabled woman, who was in the flat when Turner started the fires said she had been forced to take medication after having nightmares following the fires.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, is unable to walk due to nerve damage in her legs from peripheral neuropathy and has also been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, autism and dysplasia.

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