Wisbech ‘fire setter’ jailed at Cambridge Crown Court for public safety

Court hears that Cambridgeshire arsonist was often seen by fire officers watching them work

A 'pathological fire-setter' who put the lives of his Wisbech neighbours at risk has been jailed indefinitely for the public's protection.

Jason Brammer, 36, of Tindall Close, Wisbech, was responsible for a string of blazes and used an elderly man's disability scooter to start a blaze in the lobby of a block of flats.

The lives of the elderly and families with young children were endangered.

Cambridge Crown Court was told police and the fire service tracked the suspected arsonist's offences and fire officers had noticed he always turned up to watch at a number of blazes.

Brammer lived at Wellington Terrace until February 2007 when he moved to Tindall Close.

Operation Cisco, which was set up with view to catching the fire bug, showed there were 83 deliberate fires within 500m of Wellington Terrace and Tindall Close between February 2002 and December 2010.

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That compared to only six within 500m of Tindall Close between July 2011 and 29 February 2012.

Brammer, who has been in custody for the last eight months, pleaded guilty to two offences of arson with intent to endanger life or being reckless on 18 February 2010 at Wellington Terrace and on 5 July 2011.

In between these two incidents he also set fire to a cardboard box outside a flat in Bath Road on August 2 2010 and a waste bin on November 2 2010 in Little Church Street.

He asked the judge to take those two offences into consideration. And the court was told that he has also provided information about 45 other occasions which would clear up the outstanding blazes being investigated under Operation Cisco.

Judge Anthony Bate passed an indeterminate sentence for public protection, branding Brammer 'a pathological fire-setter' and a dangerous offender. 'You pose a high risk of serious harm to past and present neighbours.'

He said Brammer would have to serve a minimum of three years before he could even be considered for parole. But this does not mean that he will automatically get parole.

'Ultimately your eligibility to be released on licence, if and when that happens, is for the parole board,' the judge told him.

In August 1994 Brammer was given three years detention as a juvenile for arson.

Prosecutor Sara Walker said a smoke alarm went off about 9.30pm on February 18 2010 in the Wellington Terrace flat of 80-year-old Joseph Jolly (who died last year).

Smoke was coming in under his door and he opened a bathroom window so he could breathe but he was unable to leave his home because he had limited mobility.

It was his disability scooter which was on fire in the lobby of the 12-flat block. He had to be given oxygen when he was rescued by the emergency services.

A woman on the ground floor was unable to climb out of her window until a police officer smashed the window lock, she added.

Brammer was spotted by firemen watching as they tackled the blaze.

On a July evening last year a pram was set on fire in an understair cupboard in Tindall Close.

Resident George Brenchley, 77, pulled the burning pram outside to prevent the fire spreading, the court heard.

Brammer, who lived upstairs, had been drinking and treated the incident as a joke and when arrested he told police he had been drinking and was

'buzzing'. He denied starting the fire.

Mitigating, Maryam Syed said Brammer was 'a troubled individual.'

She said he had self-harmed in the past and had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and was addicted to alcohol.

Sentencing him, Judge Bate said if the fire at Wellington Terrace had taken hold 'anyone asleep or without agility to escape easily upstairs were at risk of being cut off and in mortal danger'.

He praised the fire service's prompt action.

'It was plain to police and fire service that a distinctive pattern of local arson was emerging during your tenure of these premises and I commend the careful joint investigation by Fire Station Manager Martin Boome and DC Ralph King.'

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