Arsonist who torched Wellingborough house where he mistakenly believed drug dealer lived given five-year jail term

A man who endangered the life of a 16-year-old boy after he set fire to a Wellingborough house where he mistakenly believed a drug dealer lived has been jailed.

Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 2:48 pm
Northampton Crown Court

Mark Allen, of Telford, travelled to Northamptonshire to confront a drug dealer who he believed was causing problems for his daughter.

Northampton Crown Court heard Allen had the family name of the drug dealer and was given an address in Wellingborough.

Jonathan Straw, prosecuting, said Allen knocked on the door of the property and it was answered by a 16-year-old boy who was at home alone.

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Allen asked the boy if the drug dealer lived their and the teenager said he did not know who he was talking about and shut the door.

Mr Straw said Allen “did not accept this” and continued to shout abuse at the house claiming the drug dealer was too scared to come out and see him.

A while later, the boy walked down the stairs to see if Allen had gone and saw a fire had started in the front door area, with a curtain fully alight.

Mr Straw said: “The boy ripped the curtain down a threw it outside into the garden. He then poured a bucket of water over it and rang the fire brigade.”

An investigation of the fire revealed that accelerants had been poured through the letter box to help start the fire.

Mr Straw said: “The boy was left feeling very anxious about being alone in the house.

“He only came down out of curiosity and had not been aware of the fire. If the fire had spread it would have blocked his means of escape.”

Allen was arrested after he confessed to a support worker he had been in contact with.

The 40-year-old told police it had been a “stupid and impulsive” act. He pleaded guilty to a charge of arson with intent to endanger life.

Judge Mayo, sentencing, said it was an “immensely serious” offence.

He said: “You mistakenly thought the property you were attacking contained the person you believed was damaging your daughter. In actual fact, it contained a boy who was playing computer games in his room.”

Allen was sentenced to five years and three months in custody. He is likely to serve half his sentence in jail before being released on licence.