Notorious Northants criminal admits unsolved crimes

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One of Northamptonshire’s most dangerous criminals has “come clean” about a series of unsolved crimes, including how he burnt down his friend’s house while the victim was asleep.

Prolific criminal Darren Hewitson, aged 29, who is currently serving an indeterminate prison sentence in the high security HMP Frankland, in Durham, appeared before Northampton Crown Court last Friday where he was sentenced for three crimes he would otherwise have got away with.

Hewitson was locked up indefinitely in March 2008 for a string of robberies in which he targeted elderly women, one as old at 92. In one violent attack, he struck a 70-year-old woman with a hammer, breaking her collarbone.

It was the second time the homeless heroin addict had been given an indeterminate sentence for public protection meaning he will not be eligible for parole until he is no longer a danger to the public.

However, last year Hewitson summoned police to his cell where he told them about three crimes he had committed, dating back 12 years.

He told police how he had set fire to his friend’s house in Jasper Walk, Thorplands, in August 2001, after he made a derogatory comment about Hewitson’s girlfriend.

The court heard how, after the friend had gone to bed, Hewitson then turned a sofa upside and set fire to it with a lighter before calmly walking out of the property. The man only survived because he leapt from a bedroom window. At the time fire investigators thought a faulty TV was the cause. The victim, who has since died, lost “most of his belongings” in the blaze.

Hewitson also told officers about a savage attack outside a flat in Lumbertubs, in July 2004, in which he punched, kicked and then set fire to his victim’s hair. He also came clean about an unsolved burglary in July 2007.

Hewitson was sentenced to three years in prison for the arson and three years for GBH, to be served consecutively. He was sentenced to two years for a burglary charge, to be served concurrently. The crimes will also be considered at Hewitson’s next parole hearing.

Judge Richard Bray said: “It is quite clear to me if you had not raised these matters with the police they would never have been brought to the attention of the courts.”