November 23 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, April 6, 2014
A mother and son are both starting jail terms after admitting an arson attack on a business after a family break-up turned ugly.
Amanda Bryant, 39, of Dell Road, Lowestoft, and her son Aaron Smith, 19, of Cubbitt Road, Norwich, appeared at Norwich Crown Court today after previously admitting the arson of the property in Hurricane Way, Norwich, last June. Bryant also admitted two fraud counts related to insurance claims after the fire.
The court heard Bryant and her partner had run a cleaning company based at Hurricane Way, but the couple’s relationship had broken down and Bryant wanted it to end.
The court heard Bryant and Smith had poured petrol around the building and Smith later ignited the scene.
A conservative estimate given in court for how much it would cost to rebuild the building was about £130,000. A speed boat, Mercedes car, motorbike and ride-on lawn mower were also destroyed.
Michael Clare, defending Bryant, said she suffered depression and had been assigned a mental health nurse. He said she had not started the arson for financial reasons but because of relationship difficulties.
He said: “It was done in haste, without proper thought and in desperation.”
Jonathan Morgans, defending Smith, said Smith was put in an “impossible situation” and “absolutely remorseful.”
Judge Peter Jacobs sentenced Bryant to two-and-a-half years in jail for the arson charge and nine months for each of the fraud charges to run concurrently. He sentenced Smith to 12 months in prison.
“Arson is a very serious crime. It’s one of the most serious crimes,” he said.