Woman guilty of starting fire that almost killed boyfriend

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SHARON Mann has been found guilty of starting a fire that almost killed her boyfriend.

Mann, 27, had attempted to point the finger of suspicion at a former lover but was today (Tuesday) convicted at Ipswich Crown Court.

Mann, who declined to give evidence, 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.

The jury found Mann not guilty of an alternative offence of arson with intent to endanger life.

She has been remanded in custody to be sentenced in the week commencing December 5.

Mann, of Mill Street, Mildenhall, had claimed that threatening text messages had been sent to her mobile phone and that of her then boyfriend Jonathan Horridge by her former partner Peter Crotty. But the jury heard that Mr Crotty’s phone was held by the police at the time and he could not have sent the messages.

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

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

Mr Thompson said the reasons for Mann’s actions were unclear but it was probable they had been for ‘revenge, sympathy or attention’.

In December last year Mr Horridge said he had been trapped by a fire inside the first floor flat in Newmarket and had to be rescued by firefighters. He was 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.

Giving evidence, fire officer Ian Bowell who examined the fire damaged flat told the court he believed the blaze had been started deliberately with a naked flame. It appeared to have started in a hallway near a box containing shoes.