A man who tried to trap his neighbours in a flat and burn it down with them inside has been jailed.
Jason Richmond, 46, of Peel Terrace, Dukinfield has been sentenced at Manchester Crown Court to 8 years and 6 months in prison after pleading guilty to arson with intent to endanger life.
The court heard that back in August 2016, one of Richmond’s neighbours became aware that he had made derogatory and threatening comments about her behind her back.
The woman texted Richmond telling him she was aware of the threats he had made and that if he continued then she would call the police, but received no response from him.
In the early hours of the morning days later, the woman was in bed with her partner when they were both awoken by the smoke alarm and a room full of smoke.
Immediately the pair got out of bed and ran to the front door in a desperate attempt to get out of the burning property, but it soon became clear that a rope had been tied to the other side of the door to prevent it from being opened.
After repeated frantic attempts, the woman’s partner was finally able to open the door and the pair fled to safety.Sadly the couple’s two cats, Duchess and Holleigh, did not survive the blaze.
On attendance police and the fire service found a canister that contained accelerant, a zippo lighter and a section of rope outside the door of the flat.
Detective Constable Mick Holloway, of GMPs Tameside borough said: “Jason Richmond is a dangerous individual who is now exactly where he should be to prevent him posing a risk to any other unsuspecting members of the public.
“This was clearly a premeditated attack and one that could have had far more serious consequences if the alarm had not been raised when it was.
“Although his intended victims managed to escape unharmed, their cats sadly did not survive the fire which, as well as the damage caused to their home, left them absolutely devastated.
“I hope they will feel that some justice has been done today.”
GMFRS Group Manager, Peter Buckley said: “The work between the fire investigation team and our partners in the police was critical to the investigation into Jason Richmond.
“This was a potentially life threatening situation that could have had devastating effects. Thankfully, the flat was fitted with working smoke detectors that alerted the occupants to the fire. Without that early warning the outcome would have been very different.
“It’s pleasing that our strong partnership working with GMP and other agencies have provided the Court with the evidence required to secure a conviction.”