Lowestoft painter and decorator jailed for arson attack

Ipswich Crown Court.

Ipswich Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk painter and decorator who started a fire on the top floor of a three storey block of eight flats in the middle of the night has been jailed for 30 months.

The blaze on a staircase in the multi occupancy house in London Road, Lowestoft was put out by another resident who opened his door to find flames and smoke billowing in his face and ran back into his flat to get a fire extinguisher, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Andrew Thompson, prosecuting, said the man later told police that if he hadn't had a fire extinguisher he probably would have died as he wouldn't have been able to walk through the flames and there was a 40 foot drop from his flat window.

Mr Thompson said the fire which took place in the early hours of July 21 was started by 24-year-old Wayne Freeman who had been out celebrating his birthday.

He said Freeman, who appeared to have been drinking, had left the flats wearing a military gas mask he had lying around in his flat.

He was acting erratically and aggressively and had pushed a policeman who tried to calm him down.

The fire had damaged carpets and Freeman had since repaid the landlord.

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Freeman, 24, of Mountbatten Road, Lowestoft admitted arson being reckless as to whether lives would be endangered and common assault on a police officer.

Charkes Kellett for Freeman said his client hadn't started the fire deliberately.

He had been filling his lighter with lighter fluid in his flat and a piece of clothing on his bed had caught light when he lit a roll-up.

He had thrown the item on to the landing and hadn't appreciated the chain of events he had set in motion.

Since the incident he had stooped drinking and now moved back in with his parents.