Lowestoft arsonist jailed for nine years

Maidstone Road in Lowestoft

Dean Clark started a fire in a home on Maidstone Road in Lowestoft - Credit: Google

A dangerous Suffolk man who started a fire in his home which spread to an adjoining terraced house has been jailed for nine years.

Fifty-eight-year-old Dean Clark was renovating the house in Maidstone Road, Lowestoft, when he used petrol he’d bought from a local garage to start the fire, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Sentencing Clark, Judge Emma Peters said the fire had spread through the roof to the adjoining house and it was fortunate that his neighbours were able to quickly evacuate their home when they noticed the fire.

“If they hadn’t been so quick their son who slept upstairs could have been overwhelmed by smoke,” said the judge.

The court heard that the fire service was called to a blaze at the property at 8.09pm on March 19, 2019 which was later found to have been started deliberately.

Clark had earlier been seen buying 5.6 litres of petrol from a nearby garage at Asda at 7.32pm,

The shop was less than a five-minute drive to Clark's home and his van ran on diesel, said High Vass, prosecuting.

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Clark's Ford Transit van was also seen leaving the area by a neighbour after she heard a loud bang.

Clark, now of Anchor View, Wisbech, denied arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered but was convicted by a jury after a trial in November last year.

He had also denied an offence of setting fire to a caravan in a yard belonging to his brother in Essex in June last year while he was on bail for the Lowestoft arson.

Clark was convicted of that arson by a jury at Basildon Crown Court after a separate trial and on Friday (March 11) he was jailed for nine years with an extended licence period of five years for both offences.

Judge Peters said Clark had 23 previous convictions and had been jailed for 56 months in 2012 for an offence of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm when he had deliberately driven his van at a neighbour resulting in her being trapped against a wall.

She said she regarded him being a dangerous offender and said he would not be considered for release by the parole board until he’d served at least six years of the nine-year sentence.