A MAN has been jailed for 13-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to manslaughter and arson with intent to endanger life following a fatal house fire in Coventry.
Richard Newing set fire to Malcolm Turner’s mobility scooter at his home on Jenner Street, Hillfields, in the early hours of August 20.
The blaze quickly took hold, filling the property with smoke and the force of the flames blew out the windows.
Mr Turner, who was heavily reliant on his scooter, was unable to leave the building as the fire was at his home’s only exit.
Newing, aged 43, walked away, leaving the house engulfed in flames and 69-year-old Mr Turner for dead.
Fire crews quickly attended but the ferocity of the blaze meant Mr Turner died at the scene.
At Leamington Justice Centre on February 25, Newing, of no fixed address, admitted the charges and was sentenced yesterday.
Newing was caught on CCTV only moments later on Foleshill Road, where he was captured igniting a mattress on the front drive of a house.
The property instantly lit up in flames, but fortunately the occupants were able to escape via a back exit.
Detectives investigating Mr Turner’s death and the subsequent arson attack, conducted a CCTV trawl of the area tracking Newing’s movements during both attacks. He was arrested two days later after officers spotted him in Coventry city centre.
Although the motive to the attacks is still unclear, during police interview Newing confessed to knowing Mr Turner, after drinking at the same pub as him prior to the attack.
In a victim impact statement read in court, the victim’s sister said: “Malcolm was our brother, and our lives have changed forever, due to your actions.
“We had the privilege of him being a much-loved son, brother, uncle, husband and father before he was so senselessly and cruelly taken from us and there will always be an emptiness inside of us due to his death at the hands of you, Richard Newing.
“We, as a family, truly hope that each day you are locked up, you think of our brother and what you did, and that you see our brother’s face each time you light a match or see a flame and realise the pain and heartbreak that you have caused us.
“We can at least have the knowledge that whilst you are locked away, and I hope that is for a very long time, that you cannot put any other family through what you have put us through, and that this haunts until the end of your days.”
Det Ch Insp Jim Munro said: “I am very pleased that Newing has recognised what he has done and saved Malcolm’s family the trauma of a full trial.
“Newing was clearly obsessed with fire and tragically the consequences of his actions led to Malcolm’s death.
“Although the residents of Foleshill Road were fortunate enough to survive the fire, their home and belongings were destroyed, so I hope they also find some comfort knowing Newing will now face time in prison.
“I hope this case outlines the seriousness of starting fires and how quickly they can spread and devastate lives.”
Click the link above to see West Midlands Police’s video about the case and the CCTV which proved crucial.