Six years’ jail for woman arsonist

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A Mildenhall woman has been jailed for six years for faking threatening messages and starting a fire in which her boyfriend was almost killed.

Sharon Mann, 27, was described as a ‘lying, attention-seeking, manipulative, mean individual’ by the judge sentencing her at Ipswich Crown Court on Monday.

She had attempted to divert suspicion away from herself by claiming a former lover had been to blame but in October a jury found her guilty.

Mann, of Mill Street, Mildenhall, declined to give evidence during the trial.

She was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice between August 2009 and February 2010 by making false allegations to police.

She was also convicted of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered on December 15 last year. Mann had been found not guilty of an alternative offence of arson with intent to endanger life.

Jailing her for six years for arson and two years to be served concurrently for attempting to pervert the course of justice, Judge Rupert Overbury told Mann: “Your selfish attitude has harmed many other people.”

Judge Overbury said he accepted Mann had not intended to endanger the life of her then boyfriend Jonathan Horridge, who was asleep inside the flat when she started them fire, but the incident had gone ‘far beyond that which you envisaged’.

Mr Horridge had said he had been trapped by a fire inside the first floor flat in Newmarket and had to be rescued by firefighters.

He remained in intensive care for a week and doctors had to insert a tube into his throat to help him breath. Mann had managed to escape from the burning flat through a window.

Mann had claimed that threatening text messages had been sent to her mobile phone and that of Mr Horridge by a former partner.

But the jury heard that his phone had been in the possession of the police at the time and he could not have sent the messages.

In a statement made to police, Mann had admitted that she had lied about receiving one message from Mr Crotty but insisted that he had sent the rest.

Prosecutor Andrew Thompson said it was believed Mann had also been responsible for graffiti and other damage at a flat in Newmarket where she had been staying.