A man’s anger at the arson verdict following the Middlesbrough fire

Paul Horton’s home in Middlesbrough suffered extensive damage when a fire believed to have started in a wheelie bin spread to the back door and hallway on Halloween 2020.

The rest of the house on Marton Grove Road was badly damaged by smoke and Paul suffered around £3,000 worth of damage to his belongings. He was forced to move into “horrible” temporary accommodation while his landlord repaired the house, which had suffered around £25,000 of damage.

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Last month, arsonist Katie Williams, who has 21 convictions for 38 crimes, was given a seven-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after a judge said: “I’ll give you a chance.”

Paul, 48, a former lorry driver, said: “It really annoyed me when the judge said he would give her another chance – she’s certainly had enough chances already.”

“She ruined my life that night, my neighbors and landlord had to pay a lot of money to fix the problem, and she can walk down the street probably laughing uproariously and thinking, ‘I got away with it’.”

The Northern Echo: Paul HortonPaul Horton (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

“If people think they can start a fire and that’s all they get, there’s no deterrent.

“I thought she was going to prison.”

Williams, 38, was arrested after the blood on the back door was found to be hers and later pleaded guilty to arson charges.

Last month (July 31), Teesside Crown Court heard the fire appeared to have started in a wheelie bin and caused extensive damage to Paul’s home, while smoke also spread into his neighbour’s house, where a family with two children were sleeping.

In a victim impact statement, the neighbor said: “I don’t like to think about what the outcome could have been because it angers me that someone could have put me and my family in moments of tragedy.”

Paul, who has since moved to Kelloe, County Durham, had fortunately gone shopping early that morning before taking his foster dog for a walk on the beach, but at around 6am he received a call alerting him to the fire.

When he got home, he saw a police line outside and firefighters battling the flames.

He continued: “Five people could have died that night if the fire spread.

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“I was lucky that I went shopping and someone managed to wake up my neighbors.

“I lost all my sentimental things and all my pictures of my last dog. Luckily one of my friends had one and this is the only photo I have now. The only thing I was able to save was my late grandfather’s carpet.

“I was put in a halfway house because I had nowhere to go and they wouldn’t let me keep my dog ​​even though she was a foster dog – it was like being in prison.”

The Justice Ministry said it does not comment on individual cases.

https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/23747397.mans-fury-arson-sentence-middlesbrough-fire/?ref=rss A man’s anger at the arson verdict following the Middlesbrough fire


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