Disgruntled employee jailed for six years for hatching plot to burn down former workplace

Police at the scene of the fire in Swanston Road. Picture Archant.

Police at the scene of the fire in Swanston Road. Picture Archant. - Credit: Archant

A disgruntled employee who hatched a plan to burn down his former workplace, causing more than £230,000 in damage and loss of business, has been jailed for six years.

Ricky Turner. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Ricky Turner. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

Ricky Turner, 57, who formerly worked at SPX Ltd, based in Swanston Road, Great Yarmouth, recruited Aaron Cockrell, 41, to carry out the arson attack as he was angry at being dismissed after many years of service and helping build-up the company, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Turner, of Lawn Avenue, Great Yarmouth, was convicted of the arson attack which took place on February 14 2015 but Cockrell, of Yarmouth Road, Ormesby-St-Margaret, pleaded guilty to the arson and was jailed five years, three months, for his part.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting, said Turner hatched the plan using his inside knowledge of the company and got Cockrell, who he described as a petty criminal, to do his 'dirty work'.

He said Turner was annoyed because SPX dismissed him after many years of employment and he had just been told he had failed in taking them to an industrial tribunal.

Aaron Cockrell. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Aaron Cockrell. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

'Turner decided to take revenge against the owner of the company by planning to set fire to the premises,' Mr Kelly said.

Mr Kelly said Turner crept into the offices while the cleaner was in the building and had turned off the alarm system and left a door insecure, so Cockrell could gain access and start the fire.

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He said damage to the building cost £230,000 and there was also a drop in revenue for the company amounting the thousands of pounds.

Jonathan Goodman, for Turner, said he had helped build the company up from scratch and, despite the jury's verdict, he said Turner maintained his innocence.

He added that any custodial sentence would be hard on his wife, who had health problems.

John Morgans, for Cockrell, said at the time Cockrell had drug problems and would have done anything for cash.

'He was the hired help,' he said. 'He would have done anything at the time for money to buy drugs.'

He said he now had the support of his new partner and family to beat his drug problems.

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