Man jailed for punching Old Catton woman and setting fire to bed

A man who assaulted an Old Catton woman and set fire to her bed after befriending her on the internet has been jailed.

Troy Rutter, 25, who has been on remand at HMP Exeter, appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday to be sentenced after pleading guilty to arson, criminal damage and assault on July 2 at Norwich Magistrates Court in August.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Rutter had been in an internet relationship with the victim for some time but had not met her in person until June. As a result of the meeting the victim agreed Rutter should stay with her in Old Catton and 'began a full relationship' with the woman who has a young daughter.

Mr Youell said Rutter, who 'has a long history of offending' stayed with the victim prompting concern from her mother who later arranged for the victim's daughter to stay at hers with the agreement of social services.

By July Rutter and the victim were still living together but 'difficulties were developing in the relationship as she had lost access to her daughter which caused some strain'.


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Mr Youell said an argument between the couple broke out when it had been arranged for the victim to see her daughter.

The victim told Rutter if he did not like it he knew where the door was and when he asked if she wanted him to leave she replied yes.

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Mr Youell said Rutter punched her twice in the face before he 'started smashing up her property' like crockery. The victim managed to call her mother to alert the police before fleeing to a neighbour's house. Rutter, meanwhile had started a fire in the bedroom on the mattress which spread to the bed itself.

Jude Durr said the best mitigation available to Rutter was his 'full admission' when interviewed by police and his 'early guilty pleas' at magistrates court.

He added Rutter had a 'very difficult childhood' being taken into local authority care from five. He had also been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder.

Judge Paul Downes jailed Rutter for 10 months for arson and four months each for the other offences, to run concurrently. A restraining order was also made banning him from contacting the victim for three years or from going within 100 yards of her home.

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